An unconventional Saskatoon program is helping six-year-old Syrian refugee Mahmud Alcheikh heal from the trauma of the Syrian civil war.

Once a week, he sits around a large table in a small room at Queen Elizabeth School with his siblings Zeina, 9, Janna, 10, Abdulwhab, 12, and Mohamed Alcheikh, 13. The children draw the new contours of their lives away from war, coloured pens in hand.

“They are full of energy and their creativity is increasing at every session. They’re becoming much more open,” said art therapist David Baudemont, who has been working with the Alcheikh kids since April.
The family left the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor in 2012 to Ar-Raqqah where they hid for a couple years. The family made it to Turkey in 2015 before coming to Saskatoon this September.

Signs of trauma

Baudemont said art therapy can help survivors of war to heal.
“If you are picturing your uncle who is still in Turkey, you’re going to be able to forget the pain of not having that uncle.”
He believes the Alcheikh children are particularly vulnerable.
“There were some signs in the drawings there was probably some trauma involved. So we’ve decided to work with the whole family,” he added. MORE HERE