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Feb 28, 2020

Expanding Our Success in Providing Healing and Hope

The latest upsurge in war violence against civilian populations in Iblib and other areas of Syria is adding to the tragic humanitarian crisis and resulting in additional hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing for their lives, most facing a dangerous odyssey on foot through winter. Once again Jordan is receiving these refuges and adding to the massive number of refugees it is already struggling to care for and protect.

In the midst of this rising challenge, our trauma healing programs and treatment skills training provided to local trainees are continuing to steadily and successfully work on increasing the local capacity within Jordan to provide the critical care required to meet this need.

** A FULL WEEK OF 50% MATCHED FUNDING COMING UP:
On March 23-27 EVERY ON-LINE DONATION WILL BE MATCHED UP TO $50.
So this is a 5-Day opportunity to increase the value of all donations - and our ability to continue these life-saving services!
The campaign begins March 23 at 9:00 am (Eastern Standard Time) and ends March 27 at 12:00 am midnight. Please consider making a donation during this time.

Two examples of our community-based direct service programs that have very high potential for being quickly replicated and expanded to reach significantly more children and their families, and that we are seeking support for to make it possible, are the Trauma Informed Schools (TIS) program and the Women’s Safe Space (WSS) program.

1)  The TRAUMA-INFORMED SCHOOLS (TIS) program
integrates trauma healing, recovery, empowerment, and resilience building for Syrian refugee children and their families, as well as the schools teachers, into the regular school setting.

It is currently implemented at an elementary school for refugees in Amman where the students served have lost one or both parents to the war and violence of the Syrian civil war, and is being received enthusiastically.

This program works to create a school culture that supports children experiencing psycho-emotional trauma and profound loss. Services include:
  - teaching children personal self care and coping skills oriented to their age group and culture,
  - providing them with direct psychosocial counseling and intervention
  - providing these children and their families with resilience building experiences,
  - supporting teachers and training them to identify and understand trauma symptoms and how they impact a child’s learning and behavior, and to gain skills in how to best respond to and be supportive of students and parenting
  - providing parents with support and guidance in how to assist their child’s psychological and emotional needs, including their school performance,
  - developing teacher/parent groups to promote on-going cooperation and support between faculty and parents as they utilize the learned awareness and skills to continue developing and strengthening the program into the future.

With the support and endorsement of our participating schools and universities our intent is to demonstrate the success of this program in key cities throughout Jordan and promote the Ministry of Education integrating it into the curriculum of the existing national school system.

2)  The WOMEN'S SAFE SPACE (WSS) program
is a 2nd important psychosocial service program we have established and have been operating in Irbid that serves at-risk refugee women and girls. This service provides a place where vulnerable refugee women and girls can gather and feel secure, comfortable, and nurtured in receiving psycho-social support, healthcare services, and basic personal needs, and where they can acquire skills to regain their dignity and confidence to help them heal and cope with their traumatic experiences to successfully recover. It provides a consistently available and inviting place for women and young girls to come together for needed guidance and support from psychosocial service staff, aid workers, and volunteers, and where they can regularly interact with and support each other as a mutual support system

Like all of our community based service programs, these two examples demonstrate effective, culturally tailored, and highly portable models that can be quickly scaled up, sustained, and replicated at other schools and local partner service agencies in Jordan - where the need is massive and skill and financial resources are scarce, to serve more refugee children, women, and their families.

We are now hoping to achieve the financial resources that will enable us to replicate these service programs in other major refugee population centers in Jordan.
With the needed support, we are preparing to use the trauma-informed school demonstration in Amman to replicate it at schools in Irbid and Karak, as well as other locations in Amman, and to replicate the Women’s Safe Space service program in Amman, Karak, and Mafraq

These cities both have significant refugee populations and are also where 4 of the 5 medical schools we have official partnerships are located. We also have local team members located in each city.

Importantly, our university partnerships provide a steady stream of medical student trainees we are equipping with psychosocial treatment skills through our Social Health Care certified psychosocial treatment and skills training program – which they receive credit for as part of their official academic programs. Through their field work for this training we are provided with a consistent pool of professional trainees who devote substantial time and energy to directly assisting our team in staffing and conducting these critical services, while also progressively increasing the overall pool of medical service providers in Jordan who are equipped to address psychosocial treatment needs for all.

An added benefit of having such a consistent supply of medical student trainees is that we can offer medical health screening and education services to those we serve.

Our overall model and commitment is always one of strategic collaboration with other local humanitarian service organizations and groups that share our commitment, to achieve a greater and more sustainable impact for large populations in desperate and immediate need, and to stretch scarce funds.

In this way every dollar donated to our efforts goes fully into direct services to multiply the amount of service actually provided, and the number of refugee children and their families who are reached with these services.

Although the need is immense, through our efforts and those we partner with, and with the essential help of those who generously contribute the needed financial resources that make it possible for us to continue this life-saving work, we are steadily making a significant, concrete, and lasting difference in healing and rebuilding the lives of so many - while making every dollar count.

HOW YOU CAN HELP MAINTAIN OUR LIFE-SAVING ASSISTANCE:

  • Continue supporting our work with your generous contributions. Every donation amount results in our reaching more children and families to achieve more healing and recovery. And the 50% matching campaign increases the size of your donation.
  • Share our story with family, friends, and colleagues to encourage their support by raising awareness of both the need and the concrete good being done.
  • Link our appeal site to your social media sites and ask others to do the same.
  • Learn if your employment offers matching donations for humanitarian causes to multiply our contributions.

Feel free to contact Steve Olweean or Myron Eshowsky with any questions or to share your feedback: SOlweean@aol.com.

Links:

Dec 2, 2019

Recent work in Jordan

Our staff and volunteers facilitated a number of projects for refugee children and families in Jordan. Over a two week period, a number of trainings were offered in trauma support skills for medical students, refugees, and staff working with the refugee population. SHC provides ongoing virtual training for all the major medical schools in Jordan in trauma care/psychosocial skills. The medical students as well  as social work, and psychology make up most of our volunteers. Special training was provided in relationship building skills, stress management, body/movement therapies, and meditation.

Several support groups were run for Syrian women. We established and launched a trauma informed school demonstration project at a school for Syrian children. And we held a special concert and public health education forum for Syrian refugee families as a spiritually uplifting event for the community.

As part of launching the trauma informed school project, we donated a new computer to the school and are working to fund wifi for the school. Through the use of the internet, we will be able to offer ongoing trainings in Arabic for teachers, administrators, and parents on how to address psychological issues at school and at home. Through our large pool of volunteers on the ground we can use them for translation when we have trainers who only speak English. A meeting was held with the teachers and there was a large amount of enthusiasm amongst them. One of the beauties of the meeting was their excitement and ideas which makes the project much more collaborative. A site was established where teachers, parents, and our trainers can meet for discussion and training. As word of this project spread, we were approached by another school in a different part of Jordan eager to have a similar project at their school. With additional funding and resources, we'll expand the project to a second school. 

While at the school, a special experiential training was held for about 150 children in how to face personal fears and find inner strength. The energy was high and all of the children did the practices with enthusiasm and wonder. We also shared songs that we taught and they shared songs with us as well. Medical student volunteers assisted with translation and with facilitation of skill learning. 

Oct 3, 2019

Next Steps in Addressing Healing Needs

The Syrian civil war is now 8.5 years old and the needs of serving the large refugee community evolves as the realities of long term displacement take hold. In the early years of the conflict, a majority of the Syrian children were not attending school. A significant number (estimated at that time as 10%) of the children crossed the border without an adult relative. Many families kept their children at home out of fear for safety. Prior to the conflicts in Syria, Syria had one of the highest literacy rates in the world. Those numbers have dropped dramatically as a result of the war and mass displacement.

In the earlier years, those children who were going to schools often experienced being treated as unwanted outsiders and being bullied. Over time, in many situations a separate school track has evolved for the Syrian children to avoid these issues. The one consistent thread from the beginning has been the challenges of the schools being able to address the massive trauma healing needs many of these children present. While teachers have training in teaching subjects, most are ill equipped to handle the challenges of working with these children to provide a safe environment for learning. Issues that present themselves include but not limited to : emotional reactivity and fighting; depression; anxiety; suicidality; hyperactivity; inability to focus; lack of self esteem. 

Expanding on our ongoing pilot projects, we are launching a trauma informed education project in one the schools that serves a largely Syrian youth population. Working with teachers and administration, we will provide on site training and virtual training content to raise awareness of the effects of trauma and how to address student needs in an educational setting. Additionally, we hope to make available our staff and volunteers to broaden service availabilty at the pilot project school. All of our pilot projects allow us to develop programming, assess what is working/what is not working, and then transfer those programs to other sites in the region to address refugee needs.

The schools are resource poor. So we have launched a drive to get laptop donations and we'll help with assuring the schools have a strong enough wifi connection for the virtual classes to succeed. Additionally, we are working on projects of U.S.A. children becoming pen pals with children our programs are serving and exploring the possibility of virtual connection of USA teens and Syrian teens.

 
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