Building on the success achieved during the first year of the Family Support Groups program implemented by the Four Homes of Mercy (FHOM), and the desire of more families to join the program, a preparatory meeting will be organized for the members of the first group with new families, where every person has the chance to share his/her experience being part of the group and the benefits each received by the building and strengthening of bonds between families and the residents and staff of the FHOM.
The engagement and involvement of new families will sustain the program and extend the support to new members who will also benefit from exchanging and sharing their concerns, needs, and dreams with each other. The program will provide the members with needed psycho-social support and enable them to be more comfortable on spreading the realities and rights of those with special needs.
During this year the project for this new group is expected to continue focusing on the following aspects:
Creating opportunities to socialize and building friendships – where families are encouraged to build strong friendships and social relations to share their concerns, challenges, and experiences.
Providing a listening ear – where families are encouraged to create positive environment to fully enjoy social support and the feeling being heard, understood, and accepted.
Providing information, advice, and emotional and social support – where families are encouraged to create a caring environment where every member is able to question, learn and make important decisions concerning the services provided to their loved ones.
Providing a regular meeting place –
Organizing activities such as joint excursions and family days out – where families are encouraged to spend joyful times communicating with their loved ones and each other and thereby strengthening their relationships.
I am so glad my child is now safe and getting good care,
Leila the mother of Kareem shared her hesitancy in joining the group. After a couple of sessions, she was able to share her experience with having her child served by different organizations before bringing him to the Homes. She said “just now, when Kareem is in the Homes I feel that my child is safe”. She also said “now I will surely continue to be an active member of the program”.
Thanks to you, wonderful donors, the initial Family Support Group for the families of 10 residents was all to reach its goals of reducing isolation and increasing the contact between families, their resident, and the staff.
Meeting monthly, with the assistance of our matron and social worker, the participants were able to create and maintain strong bonds with one another which they sustained via WhatsApp between meeting times. The transformation of the family members was dramatic! Involvement with their resident on-site, and short home visits increased significantly. Each person felt he or she had a better understanding of the treatment plan for their loved one, and a greater connection to the staff.
For some participants, assistance with the cost of transportation was essential to help them to achieve their long-held dream more frequent contact and with people who truly understand their situation, and with their loved one.
We now have other families eager to have such a group, and hope, finances permitting, to start the next one(s) in January.
Family Support Groups Program at the Four Homes of Mercy (FHOM) is becoming more important and a needed resource for families who have a loved one with a multiple physical and intellectual disability. Such support groups are emerging as a significant part in psychosocial rehabilitation programs. Knowing that others have had the same experience and sharing with each other their concerns and dreams is a relief to families who have rarely spoken about disabilities to neighbors, friends, or often, even relatives. Learning from each other ways to work out some common issues is inspiring hope.
To meet the expectations of family members who attend the Family Support Groups Program and to assure an effective implementation of such program, the FHOM teams are focusing on the following aspects:
Creating opportunities to socialize and building friendships – families moved on in building close friendships and started to invite new members to join the group, where they have the chance to share their concerns, challenges, and experiences. They emphasized on the need to keep regular meetings and to strengthen communication between each other.
Providing a listening ear – families enjoyed the chance not only to be heard, but also to hear each other while expressing their feelings, needs, and concerns. Being in such a loving environment enabled families to feel that they are more socially supported and accepted by friends who are ready to listen and understand their worries and fears.
Providing information, advice, and emotional and social support – being able to learn and to be part in making decisions concerning their loved ones is of great importance for families and a valuable chance to get guidance on ways to address their concerns and implement their experiences. This caring environment is able to provide families with strong emotional support.
Providing a regular meeting place – the family support program provides families who come from different parts of Palestine with a regular place to meet and organize joint activities families; this is one of the factors that encouraged families to invite new members to join the group.
Organizing activities such as joint excursions and family days out – families actively joined a number of activities, where they were able to strengthen communication, build relations, and enjoy entertainment activities.
Rami celebrating Eid with his family
Rami’s mother, Aisha, was encouraged to invite Rami’s sister and 3 brothers to join her in celebrating Eid with Rami in the FHOM with other families; she said: I’m proud of my son, Rami! Being part of the family support group is making me stronger, and now I have a great desire to spread this feeling to my children.
Overcoming fear, shame, and stigma
In one of the meetings Nora’s father, Abed, raised the issue of fear, stigma, and shame that he and his family have to deal with. He expressed his need to talk about his experience and to hear from others about the coping mechanisms they learned to use in order to overcome these feelings.
Partnership with you is enabling us to address the
need for family supporting groups that would help to overcome the devastating impact on the social and mental health of many families with disabled persons as the result of isolation, the Four Homes of Mercy started to implement a family support program that
is planned to focus on the following aspects:
1. Creating opportunities to socialize and building friendships.
2. Providing a listening ear.
3. Providing information, advice, and emotional and social support.
4. Providing a regular meeting place.
5. Organizing activities such as joint excursions and family days out.
Subject:Update report for GlobalGiving project 51484
Your generosity has created excitement, eagerness, hope! The family support group will begin mid-March. In order to best meet the needs of the participants, our social worker is presently interviewing them to ask what they want from the group. ....The chance to share the challenge of having a severely impaired loved one with those who truly understand is something they have never had! The opportunity to learn from other families how they cope with the social stigma and isolation! Hearing from other families, as well as from our professionals on ways of communicating with loved ones who cannot speak, responding in the most helpful way to certain behaviors, of teaching skills such as self-feeding, how to more frequent and better home visits is a cherished opportunity!
Please know that your gift will greatly enhance the lives of our participants, and their loved ones.
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