Help Strengthen the Resilience of Syrian Refugees

by Concern Worldwide US
Help Strengthen the Resilience of Syrian Refugees
Help Strengthen the Resilience of Syrian Refugees
Help Strengthen the Resilience of Syrian Refugees
Help Strengthen the Resilience of Syrian Refugees
Help Strengthen the Resilience of Syrian Refugees
Help Strengthen the Resilience of Syrian Refugees
Help Strengthen the Resilience of Syrian Refugees
Help Strengthen the Resilience of Syrian Refugees
Jan 1, 2021

The Transformative Impact of Caregiver Engagement

Jasem with Concern staff. Photo: Concern Worldwide
Jasem with Concern staff. Photo: Concern Worldwide

When Syrian refugee and father of five Jasem* arrived in Turkey in 2017, life was difficult. He and his young family of six, with his eldest who was nine years of age, were sharing a house with their extended family. It took him a full year to find a job and the support needed as they settled. In those early days as refugees, Jasem admits that he was not coping well with life’s forced changes.

“I wasn’t treating my wife and children well—I was hitting my children due to my own financial and psychological situation.”

Jasem became a daily worker, sometimes working in agriculture or in the local market, taking whatever irregular job was offered to him. His two oldest girls worked with their father and therefore did not attend school regularly. Staff in the local Concern community center became aware of the family’s challenges and began to work with them on a program that offers cash in exchange for children’s participation in education and psychosocial support.

Central to Concern’s holistic approach to meet the psychosocial needs of vulnerable refugee families is the Caregiver Engagement approach. It empowers parents and guardians to provide a positive learning environment at home for their children and helps them support their children’s wellbeing and development. The 10-week program provides a platform for caregivers to discuss the challenges and the achievements of raising their children.

In the Caregiver Engagement program, participants discuss a wide variety of topics, participate in role plays, watch videos and engage in interactive group work. Concern facilitators, who live and work in the same neighborhoods as the participants, provide a safe space for participants to share experiences, ask questions, try out new strategies, and explore new ideas. These sessions are open to all refugees and are offered around participants’ schedules, including evening and weekend hours. Depending on what is most convenient for participants, sessions are offered in the community centers or in their homes. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, sessions are facilitated remotely via WhatsApp.  

Jasem initially got involved with the program after his eldest daughter asked him to participate. Although he was reluctant to attend at the start, Jasem enjoyed the group discussions where participants shared their opinions and experiences.

“The facilitators respected us, treated us with dignity, and dealt with us as equals. They had humility. We felt that we were one family who exchanged ideas and advice with each other.” 

After participating in many CGE sessions, Jasem found new and positive ways to express himself and manage his anger. 

“I used to spend my time out playing cards with my friends—matters of no importance. Now I spend all my time at home with my children. I know how to take care of my children and my wife. All of this had an impact on their education level, which started to improve.”

The most important Caregiver Engagement sessions for Jasem were those about adolescents, their wellbeing and development. He learned about adolescents’ personalities, how to deal with teenagers, how parents can build trust and empathy with their teenage children and how to exercise self-control. 

“I learned how to manage my anger. I was ignorant of the concept of positive parenting. Now, my hope for my family is that we live happily ever after. I want us to be able to adapt to any challenges that arise.”

*Names changed for safety and security reasons.

Jasem participates in Caregiver Engagement/Concern
Jasem participates in Caregiver Engagement/Concern
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Concern Worldwide US

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @concern
Project Leader:
Hannah Mack
New York, NY United States
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