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The Experiences of Acehnese Children Post Conflict and Post Tsunami

The Experiences of Acehnese Children Post Conflict and Post Tsunami

Ella Suzanna and Mardiana Mohamad


Abstract

Acehnese have dealt with a long standing armed conflict between the Indonesian army (TNI) and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) for more than 30 years. Their hardship was escalated by the disaster of Tsunami in 2004. Studies showed that many Acehnese suffered from “complex trauma” resulting from many years of traumatic experiences. Individuals who were highly affected by those traumatic events were children. Children survivors are the most vulnerable, because they have lost their homes, parents, and significant others, when they were still young and greatly depending on them. After the disaster, many of the children survivors continued their living in the orphanage centers. Despite their painful experiences, they still seem to be able to lead a normal life and develop a positive outlook towards life. Therefore, the current research aims to explore the inner experiences of the adolescent survivors particularly about their meaning making, challenges, coping strategies and aspiration in life. Semi-structured interviews will be carried out with approximately fifteen adolescent participants (age 15 to 18 years old) in three orphanage institutions in Banda Aceh and Aceh Utara. The outcome of the study will contribute to the understanding of resiliency factors and processes among the Acehnese adolescents. Furthermore, these information then will be of benefit to professionals who work with other traumatized children and adolescents who may still continue to live in traumatic environments.

Keywords: Acehnese children, traumatic experiences, resiliency factors, resiliency process, and coping strategy




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