Busra has been trained to help Syrian children in Turkey who are suffering from the trauma of the war

This content comes from the interactive youth version of the 2019 GEM Report. It tells a story that brings to life some of the key messages in our policy paper: Education as healing: Addressing the trauma of displacement through social and emotional learning that is being presented at a side event during the UN General Assembly.

This week at the General Assembly, the GEM Report, FHI 360 and the Lego Foundation are coming together at an event available to watch online to discuss a range of promising socio-emotional learning practices that have real potential for large-scale impact in fragile and humanitarian contexts.  One of the key calls to action relate to the need for teachers to have better training to provide psychosocial support to migrant and refugee students who have suffered trauma. In this blog, Busra, a teacher of Syrian refugees in Turkey, describes the positive impact of receiving training to support her with her day-to-day work.

Busra 1I  worked  in  a  temporary  education  center  in Turkey for  one and a half years  as  a  psychological  counsellor  where  all  the  students  are  Syrian.  I  taught  about  500  students  in  primary  and  high  school.  They  had  Turkish  lessons  as  well  as  Arabic  ,  math,  science  and  sports  lessons.  Some of my students have lost their  family  members  or  friends. My  role  was  to strengthen  the students’  capability  in dealing  with  problems,  helping  them  to  adapt,  and helping  them  deal  with  the  trauma  that  they’ve  had  because  of  the  war,  loss  of  close  ones  and  migration.

Busra 2I took  the  Ministry  of  Education’s  trauma  education  for  psychological  counselors.    I  also  took  lessons  from  non-government  organisations  and  some  associations.  It was one of the best training sessions I’ve ever attended. I can intervene more professionally with traumatized students.  It helped us to approach students in a more sensitive way when dealing with their problems. It helped on separating problems, determining whether the issue is trauma-based or not. For example, it is important to tell the difference between whether the students’ failure is based on trauma or just laziness.

The better the pupils are spiritually, the better their behaviour in the classroom, the better their friendships, the better they can relate to the teachers and the better they do in education.

Displaced learners have often had traumatic experiences of violence and conflict. Studies in high income countries have reported post-traumatic stress disorder rates ranging from 10% to 25%. In low and middle income countries, rates as high as 75% have been reported.

Recommendation: Prepare teachers of migrants and refugees to address diversity and hardship

Busra 3Teachers in displacement situations need to be sensitive to the particular difficulties displaced students and parents face, and be able to reach out to their communities. While teachers are not counsellors, they can be trained to recognize stress and trauma and to refer those who need help to specialists. Where there are no specialists, teachers should be able to serve as some families’ only access to such services.

Download the paper: Education as healing: Addressing the trauma of displacement through social and emotional learning

This entry was posted in emergencies, migrant, migration, Refugees and displaced people, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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