Training for service providers in Germany
Although media attention is shifting, the needs of the global refugee community are greater and more urgent than ever. Today, IsraAID's teams continue to operate in the most affected areas, and provide humanitarian aid and long-term care to thousands from the most vulnerable populations in Greece, Germany, Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda.
We are pleased to share a selection of recent highlights from some of our work with refugee communities, across the world.
'Horizont' art therapy program for refugee children:
Since 2014, 36% of the refugees that have arrived in Germany, are children aged 0-15. In addition to fleeing violence and war, these children and their families have also experienced tremendous trauma and hardships on their journeys to reach Greece and/or to cross the border to Germany. Once in Germany, the families live in refugee shelters with limited living conditions, lack of privacy, an unfamiliar culture and surroundings, and an unstable present and future. The combination of all these factors, confronts these children with significant psychological challenges. It puts them at higher risk of trauma and post-trauma related syndromes, and low self-esteem and self-confidence.
IsraAID's Germany team provides a long-term art therapy program in Berlin and Frankfurt, in five shelters, which incorporates two five-hour sessions a week. The creative process enables the child to connect to his inner world - their fears, wishes, experiences and hopes, and to express it and channel it to a positive place.
Stories of impact:
Ali, aged 8, is an Iraqi refugee who recently resettled in Germany with his family. Ali struggles with some traumatic memories from Iraq, and from his arduous journey to Germany. At the same time, he also really misses his former life and home, and must deal every day with these conflicting identity issues. During his art therapy sessions, as part of IsraAID's Horizont program for refugee children, Ali only paints pictures of the Iraqi flag – he has created over 20 already! This repetition gives him a sense of safety and stability. With the help of IsraAID's art therapists, Ali is slowly beginning to accept his new surroundings. The relaxed, positive space in the art studio gives him a sense of calm, and helps him channel his energy into a positive direction.
Rasool, 11, is a refugee from Iraq. He eventually arrived in Germany with his family, following a long, arduous journey via Turkey, and a year living in a refugee shelter in Greece. Rasool is very preoccupied with his integration into school in Germany, and finds it disappointing that he can't study in a regular class, because his German is not yet at a good enough level. It really affects his self-esteem and confidence. During his last art therapy session, Rasool drew a picture which he feels represents him being fully-integrated into his school; just like the other children. During IsraAID's Horizont art-therapy program for refugee children, Rasool can talk about his feelings and process his experiences through art. Being part of a group of similar-aged children, who have gone through the same things, is strengthening. Rasool listens to their advice, and doesn't feel quite so alone anymore.
Training German organizations that work with the refugee communities:
This week, IsraAID's team in Germany launched their new psycho-social training program for service providers in Germany. Our professionals started three separate, new training programs, in three distinct locations.
The first supports organizations that provide general services for the refugee community in Germany. The initial sessions covered introductory topics, such as trauma and resilience, and were held at IsraAID's offices in Berlin.
The second training strand is run by IsraAID's Arabic-speaking team in Frankfurt. The introduction session had over 50 participants from various organizations, who operate specifically in the field of Gender-based Violence prevention and Women Empowerment. After an intensive four-hour training, many participants requested to have another session for their teams and wider organizations. Our Germany team is busy planning the next one!
The third part of the training program provides long-term, weekly supervision meetings for staff and volunteer teams based in the refugee shelters. In these sessions, IsraAID's Arabic-speaking psychologist from Berlin helps the shelter teams process difficult cases they have encountered, builds their professional capacity and improves their ability to provide services to improve the well-being of the refugee community.
Early Childhood Development Program:
"After the Early Childhood Development training program, I understand much more about the needs of children, beyond the physical necessities, like food and drink. They also need dialogue, empathy, boundaries, listening and games! I believe now that the child is a world in him/herself, just like a grown up." One of the participants in IsraAID's Early Childhood Development program.
IsraAID, in partnership with Early Starters International, is running an Early Childhood Development vocational training program for women refugees in Northern Greece, focused on teaching skills and knowledge in early childhood education and development. The three-month program, consists of four intensive training courses, each one-week long, which are being facilitated by Arabic-speaking experts from Israel.
The program empowers the women, provides them with technical skills and increases their employment opportunities for when they reach their country of resettlement. At the end of the program, the participants receive certificates recognized by Al-Qasemi College of Education in Israel.
The graduating group just opened, and is now running, a kindergarten in the camp! This center gives the women a valuable role in the shelter, and the children somewhere to learn and play, since the camps currently have no formal educational programs or frameworks for these ages. The women are enjoying putting their knowledge into practice and looking after some of the youngest refugees in North Greece!
Child Protection Teacher Training:
IsraAID's Uganda team continues to run Child Protection training courses for over 40 primary school teachers in the refugee settlements in Northern Uganda. The program includes three principal areas of focus: (1) introduction to Child Protection and psycho-social methods; (2) practical use of the tools and knowledge; and (3) how to relate previously-learned information with special needs children.
This month, teachers from the Maaji settlement graduated – below they are pictured with their certificates.
The training program aims to equip the teachers for their work with Uganda's young refugee population. This is of increasing importance, since Uganda hosts an enormous and ongoing influx of South Sudanese refugees, of which two-thirds are under 18 and many are unaccompanied minors. The graduates become certified child protection leaders and share their knowledge with colleagues, spreading the impact.
The training, run in partnership with Windle Trust Uganda, is facilitated by Israeli psycho-social professionals, as well as IsraAID's South Sudan Protection experts - this ensures that the training is culturally relevant and tailored specifically for South Sudanese refugee children.
IsraAID's medical program in Kenya, provides ongoing support to medical teams operating in Kakuma refugee camp. The medical clinics and hospitals in Kakuma are substantially under-staffed and ill-equipped. IsraAID's team provides crucial training, equipment and specialist doctors to meet the needs on the ground. In September, our volunteer doctors faciliated an epilepsy and ultra-sound training for the medical staff in the camp.
This September, every day, an average of 200 children attended an IsraAID-run Children's Center in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.
N., one of the children who frequents the center, said that she really appreciates how the facilitators push the children to take responsibility for themselves and reconcile any problems that they have with their peers in the camp.
IsraAID's team in Kenya is currently making plans to support a similar refugee-run Children's Center in a different refugee settlement, home to over 25,000 children. Updates to follow.
IsraAID remains at the forefront of the response to the Global Refugee crisis, responding to the needs of East African and Middle Eastern refugees as they develop. To date IsraAID has provided emergency aid, medical services, trauma care and training in affected countries including; South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Jordan, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Croatia, France and Germany. Our teams have reached over 100,000 refugees, and trained hundreds of national governments and local aid organizations as they struggle to cope with the mental and physical scars of the arrivals.
More updates to follow - thank you for you support!
The graduating teachers group in Uganda
Early Childhood Development Kindergarten in Greece
Flyer for new urban refugee program in Greece
Ali's painting from his art therapy session
Children's center in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya