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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

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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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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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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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.

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Organization Information

International Humanistic Psychology Association

Location: Climax, Michigan - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Steve Olweean
Climax, Michigan United States
$52,197 raised of $100,000 goal
 
642 donations
$47,803 to go
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