Psychosocial assistance, child protection and the creation of safe spaces designed for identifying - and potentially treating - trauma. These issues are central to our “Ahlain!” (Welcome!) project, funded by UNICEF, for the protection and support for Iraqi IDP and refugee children who fled Daesh in Iraq.
The initiative focuses on the Governorate of Dohuk, where thousands of Iraqi families, mainly from the Yezidi and Christian communities in the Neveneh Plane and Sinjar, who started arriving in the summer of 2014 as Daesh advanced on Mosul and surrounding areas.
The project is now in its second phase and is working with IDP families who have settled in camps - mainly Bjet Kandala and Sharya - but also in the urban areas of Sheikhan, where we started working at the very start to find the most vulnerable families who had not been included in the formal services of registration and support.
At the Sheikhan camp, we began providing humanitarian aid and basic assistance at the start of the crisis, in the summer 2014, and have been active there ever since offering psychosocial and mental health assistance, protection and healthcare for IDP children and assistance to their families, including awareness-raising meetings on the protection from violence of women and children.
We are also active in the Governorate’s mental health structures, working in collaboration with doctors and specialists to flag the most difficult cases identified by our local social workers, and treat trauma triggered by the war which could ruin the children’s future.
Special training courses for the social workers and the support of reciprocal family support groups which already exist, we are working to plant the seeds which will bear fruit in the future, including the creation of databases to monitor the project, and which will also be useful after the crisis.
“Ahlain!” also foresees the establishment of three permanent clinics for psychosocial assistance, with a mobile unit to provide assistance and treatment when necessary, wherever families have settled.
Project Name: Ahlain (Welcome) - Phase I and II
Project Type: Mental health and Psychosocial assistance
Beneficiaries: Children and adolescents living in camps
Length: January 2015 - December 2016
Project areas: Bjet Kandala, Khanke and Sharya camps (Dohuk Governorate) KRG - Iraq
Local Partners: Al Mesalla
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