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Heartache, Hardship, and Healing in Lebanon

August 6, 2014

Imagine being forced to leave your home, your community, your country. Whether the impetus is war, political persecution, or natural disaster, one effect is often the same: paralyzing trauma. It’s hard enough to start over in a foreign place in the best of circumstances, let alone in the circumstances that refugees often find themselves. That’s why, drawing on our success partnering with the Trauma Resource Institute (TRI) throughout the world, UUSC is now working with TRI to provide community-based trauma resiliency training to service providers from various nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working with refugees in Lebanon.

Why Lebanon? Refugees now constitute almost 25 percent of the Lebanon’s population. They have limited access to resources and are living in informal nomadic settlements, garages, and abandoned buildings. And while some NGOs are tending to their most basic needs — food, water, clothing — their mental and emotional well-being is largely ignored. We want to change that.

Recovering from war and disaster requires a tremendous amount of inner strength and stability; finding such strength is nearly impossible when one is confronted with the daily hardships endured by people living as refugees. TRI’s Community Resilience Model (CRM) training will give service providers the skills and practice they need to offer refugees invaluable skills for healing from the trauma they’ve experienced. CRM brings the mind, body, and spirit back into greater balance, which can enable people to face challenges with greater resolve.

In an upcoming train-the-trainers session for 50 participants, nonprofit workers will learn key CRM concepts, the biology of trauma responses, practical CRM skills, and teaching methods to effectively share the skills. Participants will create teaching plans, practice teaching, and be evaluated for readiness by master CRM trainers. When these providers have completed the training, they will be prepared to teach the CRM skills to hundreds — even thousands — of traumatized refugees, most of whom are women and children.

TRI’s CRM method has a proven track record, and UUSC has made it a vital component of the early stages of our work ensuring access to relief and recovery during disasters and humanitarian crises. From Haiti to Darfur, from the Philippines to Kenya, it is among the most reliable interventions we’ve found, and it makes a huge difference in the lives of people who learn these skills. Refugees in Lebanon are dealing with much heartache and hardship, and we’re eager to work with them during the recovery process.   

Update (January 16, 2015): Due to various challenges, the aforementioned TRI training has been moved to Turkey and is taking place January 26–30, 2015. For more information, read “Cultivating Resiliency for Syrian Refugees.”

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