Nurturing resilience in vulnerable children

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Resilience — “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change” — is the quality that allows some people to survive the worst situations imaginable, writes Amy Spies, a member of the Harvard School of Public Health Leadership Council, in an October 8, 2013 blog on the Huffington Post. HSPH’s Theresa Betancourt, she writes, has devoted her career to understanding resilience and how to nurture it in the world’s most vulnerable children.

Betancourt, associate professor of child health and human rights at HSPH and director of the Program on Children and Global Adversity at Harvard’s Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, has explored resilience in AIDs orphans, Chechen refugees, and former child soldiers in Sierra Leone.

Betancourt spoke with Spies about her work with the Sierra Leonean government and the World Bank to provide support such as counseling and employment for troubled youth who have been struggling since the end of the country’s civil war. She hopes to eventually create a research hub to promote resilience tools in people around the world.