Dozens of Mozambican children gather under the shade of a big mango tree in Metuge’s resettlement village. Twice a week aid workers help the displaced children forget the horrors of the war that rages in the country’s Northern Province of Cabo Delgado.
After witnessing the atrocities committed by Islamic State linked jihadists , many of them suffer from heavy trauma.Drawing helps them escape the harsh reality of the conflict.
Mental health workers ask the children — some of them chubby toddlers who look outwardly happy – to draw anything that comes to mind.
The trauma inflicted on the children from witnessing the extreme violence is laid bare in their drawings.
Some drew military helicopters, while others sketched the makeshift structures that have become their new homes, built from bamboo reeds and mud at the dusty camp.
Seventeen-year-old Alberto Almeida sits behind the smaller children, holding his paper on his right thigh, artfully sketching an assault rifle, then drawing a red X over it.
He captions it “noa khaphutha”, which means “no gun” in his native Makua language.
*The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.