Humans migrated out of Africa to populate the whole globe. We have always been on the move. As our planet becomes increasingly interdependent, the rigid boundaries of nation states, meant to protect us, can no longer keep out danger. Adaptability is a fundamental human quality and migration requires adaptation and learning. Host communities and migrants suffer when violence increases the risks and difficulties of adaptation for everyone. Supporting healthy adaptation for migrants and host communities is to everyone's benefit.
Skillful people with an understanding of the challenges of migration and the effects of violence and traumatic experiences are needed everywhere. People exposed to violence and the stresses of forced migration, along with their helpers, need knowledgeable support. Host communities and migrants can be strengthened together. Knowledgeable bio-psycho-social support, solidarity, resilience and adaptation skills are the heart of our training and practice.
Dr. Welkin reflects on the "Helping the Helpers" training conducted in September 2016 in Italy.
Helping the Helpers Training
People providing services to migrants, refugees and people affected by violence need special skills. The affects of trauma and violence, if not managed skillfully, can be made worse by unskilled service providers. Good intentions are not enough. "Helpers" themselves are often affected by the pain and grief they encounter in the people they serve. They must be prepared for the distress and potential secondary trauma, and given tools to overcome it.
Our Helping the Helpers Program is a comprehensive short term intervention that includes training, rest, community building with other service providers and an option for ongoing supervision. During the 5 day training, Helpers rejuvenate and find inspiration, solidarity and support to sustain their service. The long term goal is building a trauma-informed support network.
This program piloted in Italy in 2016 and can be provided around Europe or other locations in partnership with local sponsors. Read the report on the training here.
Migrant Service providers Training in TURKEY
Over the past decade, migrants and refugees have poured out of Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. Turkey is a key host to many refugees, including more than 3 million Syrians as civil war rages on in that country. Social, health and legal service systems in Turkey struggle to keep up with the needs of this severely distressed population. Rates of traumatic injury, mental health problems, domestic and sexual violence are high among the displaced and addressing them requires cultural and linguistic sensitivity.
The Pomegranate Connection developed training to increase the knowledge and skills of lawyers, health care providers, social service workers and other Turkish and Syrian people serving those affected by violence. We travel to cities around Turkey under the sponsorship of governmental and non-governmental partners like the UNFPA and the American Bar Association providing training, and are always available for new partnerships.