Bolstering Child Resilience to External Shocks
Nearly 10,000 children in Sint Maarten were among the most vulnerable victims of Hurricane Irma. The massive hurricane was one of the strongest ever recorded in the Atlantic. “It was very scary for me because I was younger,” says Keandra Harriot, 11, who was only 5 years old when Irma hit. “It was a big storm, and there was a lot of rain.” Alexander Williams, 10, described it as traumatizing: “I was staying with my grandmother, and our roof blew off.”
Keandra, Alexander, and their classmates at the Asha Stevens Hillside Christian School were among the first to play HURRYcane Run, the board game developed by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport’s Student Support Services Division and UNICEF the Netherlands as part of the Child Resilience and Protection Project. The game is an entertaining way to help educators teach children about the importance of hurricane effects and preparedness. Players win by getting to the finish line as quickly as possible and move ahead faster by answering hurricane preparedness questions or accepting challenges based on different scenarios.
“This is the most fun I ever had playing a game!” says Alexander. He also learned valuable lessons. “The most important thing I learned was to have a medical kit because it’s something I never really thought about, but once during a storm, I fell and hurt my foot when I went to save my dog.” For Keandra, it was the same: “During Irma, all the glass windows in the hotel got broken and my mum forgot her slippers, so my dad lent her his but then he cut his foot on the splinters. Having a full medical kit would have helped.”
They also share some good tips: “Make sure your devices are charged before the storm hits,” says Alexander. “Have a portable charger and also take note of your surroundings, so if you get lost you can know where to go,” adds Keandra.