PARSA’s program for youth is called the “Healthy Afghan Child Program”. This program provides curricula and activities that leverage the strengths of the Afghan culture. Our program serves Afghan children in orphanages, or in communities where they have limited access to education or are not succeeding in school. Children in our centers usually have a combination of challenges including poverty, malnutrition, poor education experience, symptoms of mental illness, developmental disabilities or trauma. PARSA’s “Healthy Afghan Child” centers are designed to become a focal point for the community to care for their children. PARSA currently has HACP programs in Shamsa Village Orphanage in Kabul, as well as in Bamiyan, Ghor and community-based Afghan Scouts programs in 14 provinces.
Kindergarten: Early Childhood Development for ages 3 to 6. This program prepares young children for school. Activities support a child’s ability to work in groups, play creatively, and to learn basic social skills in a positive learning environment. The Early Childhood Development Program provides lessons for parents on non-violent discipline, child development and self-care for an Afghan parent.
Tutoring is offered for children who are failing in a part of their education, but still benefit from being in the formal school system. This program provides intensive tutoring in specific areas with an emphasis on comprehension and application of teaching materials.
The Afghan Scouts is a 70-year old Afghan community service program that PARSA makes available to all young program participants. This program includes life skills, team building and youth leadership components. Children with low self-confidence and poor social skills grow in this program and it is an excellent compliment to our education programs.
Therapeutic and Counseling Services: Children that are referred to the Healthy Afghan Child program often have multiple problems including symptoms of mental illness, neurological disorders, learning disabilities, behavioral issues, or trauma related to witnessing violence, or experiencing abuse. PARSA staff works with these children through a variety of therapeutic modalities that have been adapted to the Afghan context including cognitive behavior therapy.
The Good Mother/Good Father Program is a very basic social work program that gives students with multiple problems access to a professional whose job it is to see that the student experiences success while participating in the center’s program. These professionals are trained to conduct assessments, set up appropriate training objectives and manage the child’s experience so that the objectives are met. “Good Mother’s and Good Father’s” are also trained to advocate for the child in the formal school setting. They also work with the child’s family to insure that the family understands the child’s problems and that they learn can be given some tools to support the child and the family as a whole.
Psychosocial Training for Teachers is a training program that gives teachers the understanding and skill to develop a special education program such as “The Healthy Afghan Child” program. In this program teachers receive a basic understanding of psychosocial training and the therapeutic methodology called “focusing”. After this training, teachers may be assigned 10 to 20 children. Teachers will assess each child individually, and make a plan that will guide the teacher and other professionals working with the child in intervention activities to improve the health, education and emotional health of the child. It is imperative for this program that a supervisor be selected that will review the progress of the children each week, and work with the teachers to develop plans for activities that enhance all of their children’s lives.