It was a long week, we had to take it all in, while remaining pragmatic and resourceful, and make some short-term and strategis decisions. On reflection, this is what happened and the plans for at least the next six months:
1. We broadened the direction of the NGO FANET to help children in trauma rather than only those exposed to ethnic conflict; partly because there is a positive concensus on reconciliation and partly because needs and opportunities for growth constantly change. However, we identified an area of predominantly internally displaced children and families (but not only), who are now extremenly deprived as a consequence of specific and wider reasons.
2. We prioritised building resilence by strengthening and extending the small school building, with a distinction between young children and teenagers/young adults where acquirement of skills (farming, sewing, carpentry) will be the main focus. Ordering desks was a small and symbolic gesture, but also a sign of intent to the community from the NGO. The Directors visited the local carpenter, but I had to stay in the car not to raise the price!
3. Earlier that morning, we met with colleagues from the local Engerton University on ways of collaboration between the NGO and two academic centres, which I think is a way forward for Universities responding to community needs too. A practical implication is establishing a rolling programme of students volunteers to enhance knowledge and capacity in e.g. teaching or nutrition. By the way, many thanks to my friends at the Hyatt Foundation in Istanbul, who demonstrated to me last month the mutual benefits of this. We will have to consider several angles for it to be sustained, training support could be my role from a psychosocial angle.
4. It was a conscious decision that counselling input is not imminent at this site, but we will be running a trauma-focused intervention at a local school where the support systems are in place, as displaced families are better integrated in the community.