In 2015, a team of Doctors and Clinicians are developing a new mental health initiative called GROW, to help war affected communities, survivors of torture and trauma and refugees persecuted for their faith or ethnicity.
Critical Intervention for Iraq
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report an estimated 4 million Iraqi nationals have fled their homes over the past decade. Of those, half are internally displaced refugees. Owing to recent insurgence by Islamic State (IS; the ultra-jihadist al-Qaeda off-shoot), a further 100,000 refugees have fled the ethnic cleansing of Christian towns and villages (now seeking refuge in Kurdistan). These internally displaced survivors of genocide now face serious physical, spiritual and mental health challenges. According to media reports, for example, Ainkawa (the Assyrian suburb of Kurdistan’s capital Erbil) is overrun with Christian refugees who are camping on the floors of churches and in the streets with few prospects and little hope for the future.
Critical Intervention for Sudan
The world's newest nation, South Sudan, has unfortunately plunged into crisis. Nearly 4 million people remain in urgent need in following the political conflict that erupted just over 1 year ago. More than one million people have fled their homes and are now living as internally displaced refugees (within South Sudan) and over 90,000 (mostly Christian) refugees have fled to Northern Ugandan refugee camps in recent months. Family Challenge have trained and partnered with a dedicated team on the ground to respond to the emergency in the form of
Trauma Rehabilitation, as well as long-term leadership and faith/church-development assistance to some of the most vulnerable communities in the region.
The GROW project is developed by a team of Doctors and Clinicians (master practitioners in clinical psychology and trauma rehabilitation) and is a new mental health initiative (early intervention and prevention) to help (a) war affected communities, (b) survivors of torture and trauma, and (c) refugees persecuted for their faith or ethnicity. This action-research project endeavors to help individuals not only recover from traumatic life events and circumvent mental health consequences, but also help promote mental, emotional and spiritual growth. In 2015, the GROW program will be piloted in Nth Iraq (Kurdistan) for war affected refugees who have fled IS persecution.
Family Challenge Charitable Trust is a nationally registered Mental Health Charity (Public Benevolent Institution with DGR status) that provides specialist psychological services. Over the past 10 years, Family Challenge has been actively (a) developing and validating evidence-based interventions for refugees of war, victims of exploitation and survivors of natural disaster; and (b) providing training for humanitarian organizations, government departments church groups, and educational institutions around the world working on the frontlines of conflict and environmental-catastrophe. Ongoing projects are currently running in the following locations:
- Eastern Europe (Greece, Ukraine, Bulgaria)
- Africa (Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Dom. Rep. of Congo)
- Asia-Pacific (Cambodia, Thailand, Fiji, Australia)
- Americas & Caribbean (USA, Haiti)
Since 2006, more than 60,000 war-affected refugees have graduated from Family Challenge evidence based trauma rehabilitation programs – becoming the largest mental health initiative ever conducted with war-affected refugees. Therapeutic research-trial data is published in international peer-reviewed scientific journals. For more information, visit www.familychallenge.com.au
The project is supported by the ICF Foundation. The ICF Foundation is a social branch of the ICF church in Zurich, Switzerland and has the goal to help people take responsibility for themselves and others, according to their resources.