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

As Syrian refugee children and their families in Jordan continue to struggle in recovering from the devastating war, violence, and profound loss caused by the Syrian civil war, they are now faced with yet additional life-threatening conditions that place them at even higher risk for survival in the form of a deadly and unpredictable pandemic, and drastic weather change.

The three catastrophic dangers combining to magnify and undermine the day to day struggle for survival are:

  • 10 1/2 years of unending community wide psycho-social trauma due to the civil war and forced displacement that has impacted hundreds of thousands of refugees in Jordan;
  • the lethal pandemic now approaching 2 years - most immediately the deadly new wave of the COVID delta variant that is rapidly sweeping across much of the Middle East, where most refugees are forced to live in crowded conditions with little or no ability to physically distance, not vaccinated due to a scarcity of vaccines in the country, and invariably at a low priority for medical care if contracting the virus.
  • and an accelerating and unrelenting weather crisis that is causing increasing, persistent, and unbearably high levels of heat and draught - with record breaking temperatures of upward to 125 degrees - that places those living in unprotected tents and crowded residential settings at highest risk of illness and death.

Over this time, and faced with these immense, accumulating, and shifting challenges, we have worked to continually adjust our service responses to these catastrophic conditions. The unique limitations caused by the pandemic in particular requires even more time and energy on the part of our dedicated, all volunteer service team to continue our life-saving help.

In response we have been focusing our efforts on expanding on our ability to provide services to refugees virtually that address the increasing suffering caused by the unprecedented convergence of these combined threats to life through:

  • Reaching out to isolated refugee centers to maintain supportive contact and health care services.
  • Providing equipment and supplies to enable these centers to link with virtual tele-health services from our disaster health care service providers.
  • Expanding our disaster aid to include providing COVID medical health services, and guidance on how to mitigate the medical effects of extreme weather.
  • Reorganizing and adapting our local capacity building psycho-social treatment skills training program for local health care providers - including through our partnership with the 5 medical schools in Jordan raining their 5th and 6th year medical students – to help build a pool of local skilled service providers who can increasingly maintain and further expand these services to assist larger numbers of children and their families.

The costs of maintaining and further expanding these services is increasing as well, due to the technology equipment, and supplies required, as we are also striving to generate more donations that allow us to continue carrying on our work in meeting these emergency needs of refugee children and their families.
And so a central and critical component of this work continuing and more lives being saved is the financial support of those who lend the power of their donations to this humanitarian effort.

In the midst of these multiple, compounding threats to life and wellbeing there is deepening alarm that an even greater humanitarian catastrophe is on the verge of erupting, if help doesn’t arrive in time.

Children born at the beginning of this humanitarian crisis in 2011 are now over 10 years old. They have never known any life other than that of a refugee living a precarious and profoundly bleak daily life, isolated from the mainstream of society, and with little light at the end of the tunnel for a better life in the coming years - unless we continue and increase our help.

There is however practical hope, and based on our track record of many years of clear results in meeting critical healing and recovery needs under extraordinary conditions, a proven path to effectively assisting those caught up in this tragedy.

Our services have been successfully making a concrete difference in the lives of thousands of these children and their families people for years, and we continue to provide the ability for coping, healing, recovery. and the promise of a better future. We have the expert service skills, important local partners to collaborate with, and a large and growing pool of dedicated volunteer service providers - through our team both within Jordan and internationally – that enable us to deliver the means for achieving this better future.

Our appeal is for the critical financial support of those who can donate the power of their money to the direct costs of our getting these services to those who need it most, and in time.

HOW YOU CAN HELP US MEET THIS NEW CHALLENGE AND 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, SHC Program Director and IHPA President, with any questions or to share your feedback at: SOlweean@aol.com

Links: Program Details at our nonprofit partner site: Common Bond Inst.

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Social Health Care program
Social Health Care program

The state of refugees in Jordan has been dire for now 10 years of the Syrian civil war. During this time they have endured multiple injuries and stressors throughout their day to day lives. In direct response since the beginning of the Syrian refugee crisis our disaster health care humanitarian assistance services have also successfully operated throughout this same period of time, providing life saving healing services that have been steadily improving the lives of so many.

Facing A New Challenge

However the landscape in Jordan and the world has recently change dramatically and is endangering this progress. For more than a year the COVID-19 pandemic has born down heavily on this large already highly at-risk refugee community in Jordan, and this threat is only increasing day to day as the pandemic surges in the region with both COVID-19 and the newest even more infectious variants. Tragically, the virus is spreading most quickly with significantly higher mortality rates within this underserved community of people who have lost everything over these 10 painful years due to the war and violence in Syria.

As the entire country of Jordan is experiencing this continuing crisis and health care services are stretched to the limit, the refugees who have consistently been at the end of the line for receiving health services now face even more dire threats to their lives and well-being.

Most at risk continue to be children and women, who make up the large majority of the refugee population, and the pandemic has only increased the degree of danger and loss these most vulnerable members of the refugee community face. As one example, most children have only one parent – in most cases a widowed mother who herself is on her own, and often no parenbt at all. These children are under the care of their one parent or, in the case of losing both parents, have been taken into the care of another family that in most cases is also headed by a widowed mother.

As the pandemic is causing the death of more adult refugees who are the primary care givers for increasing numbers of young children who have lost one or both parents, this already precarious family support structure is now collapsing, creating a rapidly escalating crisis leaving mounting numbers of vulnerable and young children, who have been suffering years of trauma and loss, without any reliable adult care, support, or protection. The consequences are rapidly leading to yet another even graver level of humanitarian crisis that will have a devastating, long term, and likely permanent impact on an entire next generation within the Syrian refugee population, unless we can respond now and adequately.

Our Current Work:

The challenge for our team has been to continue providing our critical disaster health care services within the extraordinary limitations on our physical access to refugees in the community that are imposed on us by the pandemic. The focus of our efforts has also had to necessarily expand significantly to address both the psycho-emotional trauma of these victims of war and now this immediate specific medical danger to an already endangered population created by the expanding pandemic crisis that has left them highly vulnerable and their lives phenomenally even more at risk. We are fortunate in that most of our local team members and trainees in Jordan are medical students and professionals who can also contribute their medical skills in addressing the pandemic.

With the greatly appreciated funding support of those who are moved to help us in these life saving efforts, we have been diligenly working to gradually increase the needed communication technology at as many service sites in Jordan as we can. This equipment and internet service is needed to allow our international and local treatment team supported by our local mental health trainees to connect virtually with large groups of refugees located across the country – refugees who are already required to live and interact in large groups with no ability to physical distance – to provide critically needed tele-health services.

Even as our amazing local team members and trainees themselves are also struggling with the impact of the pandemic on their personal lives, they remain committed and dedicated to their role as disaster health care providers for those in such desperate need.

Our Current Needs:

As we diligently continue to provide services as much as possible our largest and most consistent resource is the resource of our expert trauma treatment team and our health care trainees, all of who are volunteers.
Our most challenging imitations in continuing our regular direct treatment services, and in adapting to the most recent unique challenges and barriers imposed by the pandemic, are in the hard resources simply needed to do our work.

Equipment and adequate high-speed broadband internet service are expensive, and our resources are always stretched to secure more technology for both equipping more sites and maintain the existing sites we’ve equipped.

Over these same 10 years, our continuing services have made a concrete difference for thousands of refugees in Jordan we have assisted in alleviating and healing the trauma of war, violence, and profound loss. We know that with our access to those experiencing such harm and losson many levels, with the treatment skills of our dedicated psychosocial service providers, and with the materials, equipment, and supplies needed to provide this service, healing and lasting recovery is achieved and is clearly possible. We have consistently witnessed this year to year. 

Without this, and in the face of now a deadly new life-threatening element to survive that is imposed on them, the future of these refugees, and particularly the majority who are children and women, is now significantly more in question.

In the midst of these new challenges there is deep concern about what happens next with this community. At the same time there is also great hope based on our years of success in meeting the needs of these victims of war.

We have the expert service skills and large pool of service providers needed to meet this challenge.
Our appeal is for the critical financial support of those who can donate to the direct costs of our actually getting these services to those who need it.

HOW YOU CAN HELP US MEET THIS NEW CHALLENGE AND 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, SHC Program Director and IHPA President, with any questions or to share your feedback at: SOlweean@aol.com.

Links:

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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.

Links:

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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.

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Organization Information

International Humanistic Psychology Association

Location: Climax, Michigan - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Steve Olweean
Climax, Michigan United States
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