Sunday, January 15, 2012

Fostering a sense of group-feeling, identity, as means to heal, grow

The approach of this Liberian health worker to helping people traumatized by war would be applicable equally to spiritual "traumas"/problems stemming from a lack of faith in religious principles! The methods described here confirm the importance of the methods of the core activities, like devotional meetings, where an atmosphere of fellowship conducive to openness/sharing is fostered. Likewise, the importance of helping people to become aware of what is conducive to one's spiritual health, as through the Baha'i institute courses, children's classes and junior youth groups.

How do you help refugees suffering from conflict-linked trauma?
It helps to communicate to those suffering that they are not alone. We organize group sessions where we share our experiences. In these sessions, I sometimes share my own experiences of fleeing my country because it helps others to open up. The stories shared in our coping groups can be heartbreaking: one lady saw her husband getting shot dead in front of her, another lady survived a massacre in a church because she was buried under dead bodies.

What do you consider the most vital aspect of your job?
If I had to choose just one thing, it would be our role in helping to raise health awareness among refugee communities. Preventing disease is better than curing it. Awareness sessions further help refugees to come forward and discuss their problems. Some refugees are too shy to discuss their condition, others might not be aware about where they can find vital medication [at little or no cost]. Health awareness-raising can deal with these issues appropriately.

"Giving back, Liberian health worker cares for displaced Ivorians",