It was nice to roll back the years and come home (occasionally) to the Leicester Housing Department. This is where it all started with the homeless families support team, the first and by far most advanced in the U.K. Different resettlement teams followed, showing continuity and a welfare culture that is rare in many organisations these days.
The benefits were clear to see, despite the adverse economic climate for vulnerable groups. When the opportunity came, the resettlement team for refugee families was set up in house. Over the two workshops it was refreshing to mix with new staff picking up the baton and bringing diverse experiences from all over the Alam (world)!
Research measures are not sensitive enough yet in making this distinction between the impact of different traumatic events on refugee children; and research is just beginning to focus on the past, during and present. But Nilufer eloquently put these messages across in her psychoeducation resource. Moving away from an all-or-nothing position of trauma-focused interventions, there are actually so many opportunities, even during transition, to make a difference through multi-modal approaches:
All translations and contributions have their own meaning and importance. Receiving these three translations from Amina though is especially touching and a privilege, because of her unique experience as a sufferer and now an excellent carer in Rwanda. Naturally, The Gallagher Trust was the catalyst for both, so really nice to see the logo on the booklets, which is a lot more than symbolism:
(plus two more on the WACIT website)
Worth trying to learn the language and visiting this thriving country as proof of hope.
How much would one auction these drawings for? No money could buy them, because they represent something much deeper than art investment, and which galleries and experts would not understand.
These were only a few gifts from the 5* school children in the Karachi slums. They were generous givings a from those who have so little, yet expect nothing material in return – only our smile and appreciation.
For this reason, the least artistic green drawing in the middle is my favourite. This little girl was patiently waiting to give it to me, but I missed her. Then I noticed her walking away looking upset – lips down. I called her back and thanked for her lovely present, then she smiled and hopped away cheerfully!
How do we capture and demonstrate needs to staff in new and particularly existing orphanages? They are difficult to define and are strongly related to attitudes, even when physical care is adequate.
So, it is a long process with perseverance from the providing or other responsible agency. Strategies have to include organisational, staff recruitment, training, and environmental improvements; as well as external links and supports. Crucially, these are all strongly interlinked. Having toys is not enough unless adults use them with the children or encourage their functional use.
The wonderful creativity and potential of these girls in North Pakistan ultimately brings us to the only question: “if would we not accept something for our own children, why should we accept it for someone else’s child?”