Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees

by International Humanistic Psychology Association
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Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees
Social Health Care for Healing Syrian Refugees

Over these last few months the prolonged violence, loss, and ever mounting displacement due to the ongoing civil conflicts within Syria have only served to generate more victims who flee to Jordan for sanctuary, further swelling the massive number of refugees languishing there now for well over 9 years, with no end in sight for their dilemma.

The compounding challenges for these refugees struggling daily with multiple threats to their health, safety, and security, and profound loss, has been phenomenal; while at the same time the pandemic has continued to significantly strain our limited resources needed to carry on our psycho-social treatment and recovery services to this increasingly high risk community.
This is particularly true for the most at-risk members of the refugee population – children and women.

As such the number of those in desperate need is rapidly mounting as direct in-person services from humanitarian aid organizations has drastically diminished across the board in the region.

Throughout this time the services of the Social Health Care (SHC) treatment program has fortunately persevered in continuing to assist these refugees in Jordan, primarily thanks to the dedication of our amazing volunteer local and international service team. Our team is made up of expert psychosocial trauma therapists, medical professionals, social workers, and teachers, all who volunteer their time, skills, and hearts to this work. Within the travel and direct contact limits imposed by the pandemic, this commitment is making the difference in making it possible to provide vital life-saving treatment services to those most vulnerable through enhanced tele-health, and keeping hope alive until we can fully re-establish our in-person on-site services that have aided refugees since 2011.

As part of this current work, resources are increasingly required to provide tele-communication technology to establish and maintain virtual stations at residential sites in Jordan housing large numbers of refugees allowing access to our team, medical equipment and supplies provided to each site that enable refugees we serve to regularly self-monitor and receive targeted medical guidance, health care, and support from our health care providers, and self-help skills training to support their ability to cope with crisis conditions on multiple levels, and support each other in doing so.

Both providing victims of trauma and loss with the psychosocial trauma treatment - and now COVID-19 health care, and also equipping them with the personal coping and self-care skills to enable them to take an active part in their own individual and communal healing recovery, is at the center of our service philosophy. This approach is consistently proving to be highly successful in helping to achieve healing and recovery, and the generous support of our donors helps to make this possible.

While our devoted service team that is capable of reaching more and more refugees continues to grow and be available to steadily expand on our overall potential for services, due to the increased cost of computer communications equipment, on-going technical services, and medical devices required to reach and maintain treatment and support contact with refugees at multiple locations across Jordan during this extraordinary period, our limited funding resources are necessarily consumed by these technical costs.

Each donation helps to overcome these limitations placed on our services due to lack of funding, to sustain and make these direct services immediately available to more of the most vulnerable and at-risk – the children and women who make up the large majority of the refugee population.

Your continued donations are immensely appreciated and crucial to continuing our humanitarian work, and to the healing of so many.

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 with any questions or to share your feedback at: SOlweean@aol.com.

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The Challenges:

Over these now several months of the COVID-19 pandemic the most vulnerable and struggling communities in the world are experiencing the greatest life-threatening impact.

The massive population of refugees we continue to help in Jordan make up one of the most vulnerable, high risk groups among these communities for contracting, dying from, and rapidly spreading the COVID-19 virus. Combined with the devastating trauma and loss already experienced due to the Syrian civil war, these refugees are now faced with even greater risk to their survival.

  • Like many countries, the entire society in Jordan is under a strict mandate to physical distance and avoid travel.
  • The more than 1 million Syrian refugees in Jordan in particular are crowded into tightly packed living conditions with no ability to physical distance.
  • A huge portion of the refugee population already suffers from profoundly compromised immune systems, fragile medical conditions, low resistance to infection, and general poor health.
  • At the same time, the already significantly overstretched health care system in Jordan is struggling to meet even the minimum needs of it’s own citizens, and refugees are unfortunately at a lower priority even for these increasingly limited services.
  • Both international and local humanitarian services for refugees in Jordan are also now greatly hindered,curtailed, or simply suspended due to the pandemic restrictions.
  • As a result access by refugees to any health care services, supplies, or self-help information on COVID-19 monitoring, treatment, and mitigation is severely limited, and in many cases nonexistent.

What this now leads to is the danger that this entire population is on the verge of an eruption of COVID-19 cases, death, and transmission to many more, both within the refugee community and the surrounding region. As such, this threatens to produce a humanitarian catastrophe of even higher proportions than we are witnessing today.

What We Are Doing With The Help Of Donors To Meet This New Level Of Challenge:

In the midst of this pandemic among the most at-risk community in Jordan, and in addition to our on-going psychosocial trauma healing services, health and safety knowledge - and particularly specialized medical assessment, guidance, and instruction personally tailored to individual and family conditions and symptoms - is currently the most powerful asset we have at our disposal. The task has been getting this assistance to those in most need in time for them to benefit from it and help slow the virus.

An effective way we are using to achieve this is through relying more on tele-health. For several years we have already been providing a portion of our assistance as tele-health services in addition to our on-site, face to face assistance. To meet the increased challenges of the pandemic we are now working to rapidly and significantly ramp up our existing tele-health ability by setting up an expanding network of live virtual stations throughout Jordan in apartment buildings, large group homes, and camps where large numbers of refugees are already forced to live in compressed quarters, and where critical life-saving tele-health services can still immediately and regularly reach them.

The services are staffed by our international team of expert health care professionals, our local treatment team, and our large pool of hundreds of local trainees who are medical students and professionals. This is a coordinated virtual treatment, health education, guidance, and psychosocial support system in regions of Jordan with the highest concentration of refugees.

We are currently concentrating on sites in Amman and Irbid, and hope to continue adding sites in these and other regions of Jordan. Each virtual station allows a large number of people to access health care and support. With the critical financial support of generous donors we are purchasing and putting the required computer and internet technology and basic medical self-monitoring equipment in place that is needed to establish as many of these live virtual stations in as many of these compacted population centers as possible to maintain contact, provide health care service, and ensure life-saving help continues to reach refugee children and their families in desperate need.

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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:

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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. 

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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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Organization Information

International Humanistic Psychology Association

Location: Climax, Michigan - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Steve Olweean
Climax, Michigan United States
$60,988 raised of $100,000 goal
 
718 donations
$39,012 to go
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