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Jul 8, 2019

Hope And A Path To A Healthy, Secure Future

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even though the global media tends to gradually focus less and less on the plight of Syrian refugees, this humanitarian crisis remains massive and is only growing. And so the need for our services to continue is all the more urgent.

* July 18 Matching Funds day: Your support - and especially on July 18 when donations are matched beginning at 9:00 am Eastern Standard Time and lasting until matching funds run out – is truly appreciated.

Over the course of our work we are often asked if people outside the region are still aware of their plight, and the desperation of their day to day lives that they have been enduring for now over 8 years.

Children who were infants or not yet born at the beginning are now school age, although many have had little or no education, and have never known a life of security. Those who were in elementary school are now teenagers and young adults looking at an uncertain future for themselves.

Thanks to the amazing support we receive from donors who contribute the funding needed to make this critical service possible, the answer we can provide is IHPA’s humanitarian Social Health Care (SHC) treatment services continuing and even expanding our life saving services to the most vulnerable of refugee children and their families throughout Jordan.

The direct healing results of the services are growing as well, through the residential service center for widows and their children, Women’s Safe Spaces, community-based day service sites, community resilience building events, and new programs such as a trauma-informed elementary school project for refugee children.

As one example, the residential center that houses up to 40 refugee families headed by widows continues to provide a safe and supportive environment while they receive treatment and skills training in areas of coping, self help, and daily living to prepare them for moving forward with their lives. As these families are able to reach a point of being more secure and self-sufficient that allows them to move out into more independent living situations, other more vulnerable families are able to move into this site to be assisted in the same way. By partnering with local humanitarian aid organizations we can also help to continue services in the community to families once they move out.

Our trauma skills training programis also increasingly equipping local medical students and health care service providers, the staff of humanitarian aid organizations, teachers, clergy, and members of the refugee community itself with various levels of vital trauma healing skillsthat enable them to work closely with our treatment team and reach even more who are at risk.

Based on our central commitment to local capacity building to growand support the number of current and future disaster health care professionals and paraprofessionals within the community who are desperately needed for the true long term recovery of hundreds of thousands of children and their families traumatized by war, violence, and loss, IHPA is steadily increasing it’s direct services while preparing those who can continue them into the future.

As part of this free training service, IHPA is partnering with the medical schools in Jordan to officially provide professional psychosocial skills training to all 5th and 6th year medical students in Jordan.

We are now preparing to take another team of our volunteer expert trauma therapists and trainers on a mission to Jordan to continue conducting disaster health care field clinics, as well as provide more on-site skills training and clinical supervision to further increase the skill level of our local trainees – all of who volunteer their time and energy in service to those in need. During this next trip we will also be conducting several large community resilience building events in the Amman and Irbid regions. These events provide needed respite from the drudgery of daily life and rejuvenating experiences of joy, celebration, and community cohesion, as well as opportunities for our team members to provide basic information to parents on how to understand and help support their children when experiencing trauma induced difficulties at home, such as night terrors and day-time panic attacks.

Our pilot community-based service centers in Amman and Irbid allow us to both provide immediate direct services and demonstrate to our trainees and other local humanitarian organizations how to create, operate, and maintain such services in regions where there is massive need and scarce resources.Our programs are designed to be quickly replicated and scaled up in other locations, with the goal of promoting the growth of psychosocial services throughout the country.

In this way every dollar donated to our efforts multiplies the amount of service actually provided, and the number of refugee children and their families still suffering from the massive crisis of this war who are reached with these services.

With your help, we can carry on to help every child experience genuine hope for a healthy and secure future.

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Apr 8, 2019

Continuing to Build Hope and a Healthy, Loving Future for Children

Trauma-informed school project
Trauma-informed school project

Over the last 3 months the support of donors has made it possible for our team of international and local volunteers in Jordan to continue the critical, life-saving psychosocial services we have been providing to the most vulnerable of refugees for the last several years, while at the same time training local service providers, including members of the refugee community, in practical skills to build their capacity for expanding on and sustaining these services into the future.

Along with offering immediate healing treatment to traumatized children and their families, our services provide important supervised field work experience for our health care trainees to practice learned treatment skills, and also function as pilot projects to demonstrate highly effective models for creating, operating, and sustaining viable services programs in difficult situations where the need is massive and the local skill and hard resources are seriously undeveloped and scarce. This is based on our strong belief that if the needed skills and systems are within the community itself and “owned” by the community, it makes for a much more effective, culturally appropriate, and lasting benefit to the largest number of those at most risk. With a long term commitment and if done well, it also better leads eventually to less outside assistance being necessary.

Our service projects are specifically designed to be replicated and scaled up in other locations throughout the country, in collaboration with our local service provider partners and trainees, and to be increasingly operated by them. In this way each of our efforts can multiply in it’s benefit to reach more of those in need for the longer period of time required for true healing and recovery.

Particularly since children make up the largest percentage of the entire refugee population, and have less self-advocacy ability and internal resources to cope with severe trauma and loss, we focus much of our healing work on children to help prevent long term psycho-emotional impairment throughout their lives and allow them to realize healthy and loving futures.

In addition to our current on-going services, one example of a new initiative is a project to assist a refugee elementary school in Amman that we have worked with for over 3 years to develop it into a trauma-informed school – creating a school structure and culture that supports children in their healing and recovery, and in strengthening their resilience and ability to cope, while also supporting school staff in more effectively responding to the unique needs of these students and their families within the educational setting.

This new Trauma-Informed Educational Recovery Project uses both formal classroom instruction, as well as specialized methods such as interactive games, group exercises, noncompetitive/cooperative sports, expressive arts, and multimedia materials to teach children a variety of stress management, coping, and self confidence, and resilience building skills.

The intent is to provide a viable and successful model that can be replicated and scaled up in other schools in Jordan that enroll refugees and other vulnerable at-risk children.

As another new development, we are expanding on our Women’s Safe Space project by adding sites to reach more at-risk women and girls. The Women’s Safe Space project provides a secure and supportive place where vulnerable refugee women and girls can gather on any given day to receive psycho-social support, healthcare services, basic personal needs, and peer support, and where they can acquire skills to help them heal and cope with their traumatic experiences, as well as daily living and socio-economic skills to achieve independence and successfully move forward with their lives.

With the continued vital assistance of those who resonate with these healing efforts by generously lending their financial support, we can carry on to help the most vulnerable of refugees with this life saving work, and ensure especially every child can look forward to a future of safety, relief, and joy.

Jan 8, 2019

A New Year of Promise and Continuing Life-saving Help

As time goes on the global public attention can tend to shift from focusing on the massive, continuing tragedy of the Syrian refugees crisis in the Middle East to other significant events around the world. However for the millions those caught up in this catastrophe, most of who are children, the daily trauma, misery, and despair continues and becomes further embedded in their life experience.

Our commitment has been and continues to be persisting in doing all we can to aid those most vulnerable - and particularly the children, as well as seeking to keep this tragedy on the public table and in the public consciousness so that they do not feel abandoned or hopelessness.

For us, the path to recovery for those we assist has always been local capacity building, cultural adaptation, strategic collaboration with local partners, and community empowerment - to provide immediately needed direct healing services while helping to equip the victimized community itself by instilling it with the requisite skills and service templates to become the most effective, primary, and sustained provider of it’s own healing and recovery into the future. We see this as essential to the goal of healing, recovery, and dignity for both individuals and the communities they make up.

And so our services are always a purposeful blend of both direct services in the immediate, along with skills training - from self-help to higher level professional treatment - and pilot demonstration service projects that can successfully operate in regions of turmoil with scarce skill and hard resources. Beginning in 2011 our efforts in Jordan have steadily expanded based on these priorities in direct partnership with local colleagues.

2018 was a year of maintaining our level of life saving services to Syrian refugee children and their families, while steadily expanding on these services and training local service providers to increasingly reach more of those in need.

OVER THE LAST 3 MONTHS we have continued to deliver the following healing and recovery services to assist refugees in Amman and Irbid

  • Conducted another Disaster Health Care field clinic in Amman and Irbid administered by our visiting clinical staff and local trainees to provide culturally adapted psycho-emotional trauma therapy.
  • Conducted coping and self-help skills training for refugees at our treatment sites in Jordan. Examples included stress and mood management, effective parenting under stressful situations, nonviolent communications, interpersonal relationship and communications, assertive problem solving, decision making, and self-advocacy, English as a 2nd language, and employment preparation.  
  • Operated the Women’s Safe Space program in Irbid. Safe Spaces are community-based psychosocial programs providing vulnerable refugee women and children with a regularly available, dedicated space where they can feel secure, comfortable, and nurtured while receiving psycho-social treatment and support in their healing and recovery process. Among services are counseling to alleviate trauma symptoms, support groups, medical health care screening and support (including health education, materials, and guidance on women’s health issues), training in personal coping and empowerment skills to promote self-confidence, self-esteem, and resilience, physical exercise, and craft and creative activities.
  • Operated women’s support groups at the residential center in Amman and Safe space in Irbid.
  • Conducted Community Resilience Building events.
  • Supported refugee students and a refugee elementary school in Amman with tuition and basic supplies that are enabling students to remain in school and the school to remain open.
  • Conducted training sessions in practical trauma treatment skills, through our Social Health Care (SHC) training program, to help equip local members of society (students, NGO staff, health care professionals, aid workers, teachers, clergy, and volunteers) with skills at the para-professional and professional level to create a growing pool of psychosocial service providers that can increasingly assist refugees and vulnerable populations into the future. Within the SHC program, in 2017 we established the Psychosocial Specialty Training (PST) program to train all 5th and 6th year medical students in Jordan in psychosocial skills. More recently, in October, 2018 this major landmark program was officially designated as a formal part of medical students studies, in partnership with all Jordanian medical schools and Michigan State University Department of Psychiatry, and significantly expanded. The result will be dramatically increasing the number of medical professionals in Jordan over time equipped with skills that range from basic fundamentals in assessment and supportive mental health counseling and intervention, to advanced therapy.

2019:

As we move into this new year we will be continuing to conduct and further develop the above programs.

IN ADDITION, we are planning and developing new and critically needed services that can significantly increase the benefits to Syrian refugee children and their families, and that we hope to be able to put in place in the coming months based on gaining continued support for our efforts. These planned services include.

   1)  Further developing and expanding on the Women’s Safe Space program to establish a new service site in Amman, with future plans to replicate this program in Karak to reach more women and children.

   2)  Planning to expand the number of support groups to include groups for young girls and young boys

   3)  Planning toward developing a Trauma-informed Educational Recovery Project - a pilot project to demonstrate a model for expanding and sustaining services into the school system. This planned project would provide on-going services and support within the school setting that include:

  • teaching children self-help, coping, and resilience building skills,
  • training teachers and administrators in identifying, understanding, and being sensitive to trauma symptoms, and in basic supportive responses to students and parents, and
  • teaching parents skills in coping and parenting children experiencing trauma symptoms.

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.

  • 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.

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