WACIT in Uganda: The workshop that rain couldn’t stop

The refugee graduates had to walk long distances inside the flooded settlement, so after two days already one would have expected them not to come. Yet, one by one, here they were, and kept going. By the end celebration, even the sun came out!

A privilege to share those few days, and be inspired by their human strength and professional dedication.

WACIT Uganda: Continuity between the past and present at refugee settlement

First it was New Congo, then New Buja (Bujumbura – Burundi), New Kigali (Rwanda), and so on. Each part of the refugee settlement a new home for each community. Children’s language, attempts to rebuild houses and lives reflected families’ various stages of migration.

Same attempts for survival and starting a new life as New Smyrni (Izmir) for Greek or New England for English migrants. But we often have short memories and condemn migration by dissociating from our history – too painful or mere hypocricy?

Training refugee graduates in Uganda: The hardest Рyet most gratifying challenge so far 

Was this the first inter professional, intercultural and inter experience training so far? Hard to anticipate the range of skills from teaching, social work, psychology, counselling and law in this humble school room in a Uganda refugee camp.

Participants brought their experience from different fields and African countries, had to flee danger and persecution themselves, struggle as much as others in the camp, yet they volunteer in different roles to help children – it just doesn’t get better.

So, who missed PowerPoint today? And shouldn’t the two curious fellows be at school themselves?

Warm memories in times of darkness

The 6×6 autographs of those great people who make a difference to vulnerable children’s lives across the world have eventually been framed!

Very timely relief from the voices of isolation, discrimination and hatred that surround us at the moment.

Discussing strategies for refugee children in Vienna

One might be under the false impression that we can forget multiple disadvantage and severe trauma when visiting well developed services and a great city like Vienna. But problems find their way such as the rapidly rising number of refugee children here.

It was interesting to hear how specialist services rationalise their input; and how the SOS Children’s Villages had to respond in a short time by opening new care homes and appointing skilled staff. The highlight was clearly Hannes and his Psychology team based within Welfare Services – brave investment in the current climate, and plenty of innovation in engaging refugee and other vulnerable young people.

Art representation of resilience-building in low-income countries

They say that “one picture is worth 1,000 words”. A gifted artwork is certainly worth more!

What a clever way of the two artists capturing the workshop at the Anna Freud Centre in London last week. Who needs minutes or abstracts?

It’s all there: music, spirituality, faith, neural development, healing, even Theory of Change for organisations involved. Pleased with the WACIT football generous representation too – a positive spin on my emabarrasding own goal video…and has given me ideas where to have future meetings with stakeholders.

What did we learn in London about resilience-building in low-income countries?

Actually, an awful lot! Consistent approach to resilience as a systemic and dynamic process, a range of interventions in difficult conflict contexts, and steadily emerging evidence.

The mixed NGO, practice and academic participants gelled nicely, with colleagues increasingly combining roles and skills.

Some of the most important contributors globally were there, such as Mark Jordans from War Child in the Netherlands, Tasha Howe from US Humboldt State University, Sarah Hommel from Save the Children, and Jessica Deighton from the Anna Freud Centre just a few to mention – worth looking out for their work.