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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead Dr. Nancy Baron Director Psycho-Social Training Institute in Cairo (PSTIC) Global Psycho-Social Initiatives (GPSI) Psychosocial Programs
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“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Dr. Nancy Baron
Psycho-Social Training Institute in Cairo (PSTIC)
Global Psycho-Social Initiatives (GPSI)
American University in Cairo (AUC) /
Center for Migration and Refugee Studies (CMRS)Psychosocial Support for Refugees by Refugees in Cairo Egypt
Actual number of refugees living in Egypt is unknown.
UNHCR (2008) reports “caseload” of 37419 refugees and
asylum seekers from 36 different nationalities.
Estimates of actual numbers of refugees and migrants range
from 500000 - 3 - 5 million
Mainly from Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia.
MAJORITY of refugees are Sudanese
PLUS estimated 70000 Palestinian refugees
All come seeking a better life!
Some are searching for economic opportunities, education,
a better standard of living etc.
Many escaping horrors of war, violence and persecution within their countries.
Victims of human rights violations ranging from genocide, loss of home and property, death of loved ones, risk to life, sexual violation, war wounds, deprivation of basic needs, torture, religious and ethnic persecution and harassment.
Most hope that Egypt is merely a transit point to resettlement in a safe western country.
Most refugees are stuck in Egypt with little hope of change.
UNHCR and IOM resettled few refugees last year.
About 900 resettled in 2009. Average of about 5%.
Iraqis however ARE commonly resettled.
Usual methods of coping used in home country like family and
community support now changed due to separation from home.
LACK OF EXTENDED FAMILY SUPPORT
Resentful at their household role.
Increase in: Alcohol or drug use by men, Family break-up, Domestic violence.FAMILY RELATIONS
Parents rarely organize play.
Limited UNHCR / Cost / National care not available easily.
Little awareness about need to for balanced diet.
Pre-schools locked in the house all day watching TV. No sun.
School age in schools without space for outdoor activity and home immediately after school and locked in.
(Example: 6 and 4 year olds / NO language skills.)
Families more able to pay for private schools.
Yet, middle or upper class families high expectations and much disappointment.
Little hope for future opportunities.
RISK TO LIFE
Safety risks due to being home alone.
Fall from balconies, gas explosions, fires.
Desire for a better life leads to illegal border crossing to Israel or other countries.
Children Shot. Killed. Wounded. Imprisoned.
desperate families who spent all their savings to send the children.
Can be poor care, exploitation, abuse.
SPECIAL DEVELOPMENTAL NEEDS
resilient. They struggle and cope.
Most do not develop serious mental health or psychosocial
There is the need for a range of supportive interventions.
Full responsibility given to UNHCR.
Most often do not allow NGOs working with refugees to register so limits donor funding and continual risk of forced closure.
Overwhelmed with clients.
Difficult to secure skilled workers.
Used foreign or Egyptian workers with refugee interpreters
Based in offices and offered little community based support.
IASC MHPSS Guidelines provide a global framework from which helping
organizations can work alongside affected communities to offer mental
health and psychosocial support across all sectors of assistance.
The underlying principle in the MHPSS services provided in Cairo is a belief
that prior to the emergencies, refugees had natural resources that offered
The emergencies shook up the natural helping systems.
Our goal is not to replace these natural systems rather, to facilitate effective
natural systems so that the refugees can sustainably help themselves and
each other.CAIRO UTILIZES THE IASC MHPSS guidelines
Level 4: Specialised Services
Level 3: Focused (person-to-person)
Community and family supports
Level 2: Raising community and family supports
Advocacy for basic services that are safe, socially appropriate and protect dignity
Basic services and security
Level 1: Social considerations in basic services
Increase capacity of refugee communities, families and individuals to effectively help themselves and each other with psychosocial and mental health issues.
Provide a specially trained team of refugees to provide support to refugees with problems with psychosocial consequences in their own language and in adherence to culture and tradition.
Increase the referral and support to refugees with mental illness needing treatment.
Increase the capacity of organizations assisting refugees at all levels of assistance to integrate support for psychosocial well-being directly into their services.
8 month course
Graduated 17 Trainees May 2010
NOW 2nd Training class underway.
375 hours of participatory classroom and field based training (9 weeks intensive seminar / Weekly support groups)
3 hours a month of individual field based supervision by local professionals.
Capacity building of Directors of organizationPSTIC ACTIVITIES
Community leaders, teachers, health workers, development workers, counselors, social workers and others with commitments to their communities and sensitivity to psychosocial and mental health issues.
They are employed within existing organizations and schools that assist refugees and integrate their psychosocial work into these organizations.
To facilitate organizations to include psychosocial workers PSTIC assists with salaries for some Trainees for one year.
KNOWLEDGE / Overview of:
2. Community based psycho-education and awareness
workshops and discussionsto build knowledge and self-help
skills within refugee communities to understand, prevent and respond to
psychosocial and mental issues including:
How to cope with life as a refugee,
How to make informed life decisions,
Understanding and managing distress,
Effective coping strategies,
Living with traumatic experience
Healthy child rearing practices
Managing family conflict
Understanding risks and managing substance abuse
Health education etc.INTERVENTIONS BY PSYCHOSOCIAL WORKERS
4. Support Groups for adults, families and children including:
Parents: Mothers / Fathers about managing stress and parenting in difficult circumstances
Couples about controlling domestic violence
Adolescents and/or children adjustment to Egypt
Men managing life without work
Families about issues of communication etc
5. Community based Crisis Intervention for problems due to family or communal disputes or violence or suicide or other serious issues.
6. Psychosocial Support and Basic Problem Solving Counseling for individuals (including adults and children) and families.
7. Conflict Mediation for use with families or community members to prevent and mediate problems.
8. Advocacy on the behalf of the psychosocial or mental health needs of refugees.
9. Referral to professional psychological or mental health and other services.
10. Monthly Seminars to build the interest and capacities of Egyptian mental health professionals towards assisting refugees.
11. Public awareness campaign for Egyptian population in neighborhoods and schools where refugees live to build understanding and reduce discrimination and racism. PLAY CNN VIDEO.
Refugee populations always have psychosocial issues!
PSTIC partnered with:
International Director/ Trainer expensive so 4 local Egyptian Supervisors / 4 Refugee Field Supervisors (Programme graduates) now being groomed to takeover by Year 3.
Budget supports salaries of many of Trainees. Their effective work will continue to lead to availability of funds directly through their organizations and/or UN.
Public awareness campaign with cascade of activities will hopefully begin to change the way that refugees are treated within their communities.
See also link: