Elaine Miller-Karas led a team into Istanbul, Turkey to train individuals working with or planning to work with Syrian refugees. This project is sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Team members include Michael Sapp, PhD, Ellen Elgart, MSW, Nancy Barickman, MSW and interns Nick Skenderian, Loryn Keyser, and Karalynn Lukash. The team will go in January of 2015 and again in the Summer of 2015.
UUSC invited TRI to create a program to help train individuals working with Syrian Refugees. It was decided to bring the training to Istanbul, Turkey. An application was designed and translated into Turkish and placed on the TRI website. Potential participants were identified through this application process and screened. The goal was to train 20 participants and 25 individuals participated in the training. We had participants from Iraq, Jordan, Turkey, France, Switzerland, the United States and Israel. 24 of the 25 participants were either working currently with Syrian refugees or had plans to work with Syrian refugees. The participant from Israel, Juditta Ben-David, works in Israel with providing healing opportunities and forums between citizens of Israel and Palestine and plans projects to help Syrian refugees.
The participants included representatives from Caritas, Batman City Council Coordinator for Refugees, Turkish Association of Psychological Counselors, AID-International Doctors-Public Health, a documentary filmmaker working on a documentary regarding Syrian refugees, Turkish Red Crescent Association, Association for Solidarity with Refugees, UNCHR volunteer, Project Lift, Gasiantep (ODTU/Psychology-UNFPA Gender Violence, Refugee and Migrant Services, Istanbul. The participants included individuals representing the Kurdish population.
The training was held from 9-5 Monday through Friday with two breaks and lunch provided by the project. One participant could only participate for 3 days and two participants could only participate for two days. These individuals were not counted in the 25 who completed the training. The reasons for not continuing were because of job responsibilities and were reported to the trainers on the first day. The training was provided in English with Turkish translation.
The materials were translated into Arabic and Turkish. The Arabic speakers were very thankful to have materials in Arabic. The trainees were provided with workbooks, pocket cards and a cd with the English, Arabic and Turkish translation. We attempted to translate the materials into Kurdish. However, the Kurdish translator did not come through at the last minute. We can continue to have the materials translated and Emre Gur is trying to identify another translator as the Kurdish participants felt it was imperative to have some of the materials in Kurdish. We did not find out until the Friday before we arrived that the Kurdish translation had fallen through. Our consultants attempted to find a translator at the last minute and they were unable to do so.
Pre and Post Evaluations were conducted with regard to the participants’ knowledge of trauma. The participants completed a training evaluation. The following comments were came out of our final discussion and their written evaluations:
How can you use the CRM skills within your community?
- I can teach my colleagues and students, I can offer my association (pdr.org.tr) to organize training.
- We think that we will use CRM to raise the awareness of the individuals and we will use it as a model to teach children while entertaining them. Especially we will try to implement them within the works of UNICEF and TEGV.
- Transferring CRM skills to the colleagues, teaching these skills to the adults and children who consult to our center
- We can teach them to our colleagues and Syrians during the therapeutic support. We can teach them to our family and the people around us.
- We can directly train the Syrians and our colleagues from the field and share what we have learned here.
- Introducing this model and these skills at the trainings intended for the refugees and for the people work with refugees. Using these methods for the individual and group therapies and integration of the exercises and games into the works.
- Could be used while working with refugees. We could introduce the games that we have learned here in our work.
- In schools sometimes we need to talk to our students when they are stuck in the high zone so I could use these skills with them.
- We work with Syrian children and sometimes they go out of control so we can use the skills.
- I am working on a book now if I can manage I will try to introduce the model in one of the chapters.
- I can teach these to the people working in the camp with me. And I can use it with the refugee kids.
- There is a group of experts that I take part. I will teach these skills to the people there.
Primarily which steps should you take in order to implement the CRM skills in your environment?
- Teaching a small group of colleagues, get them together to form a team.
- With the invitation language we can tell people how they can do grounding for themselves.
- Giving preliminary information about CRM, forming a group, planning the training and transferring the skills.
- Currently we work with a group and they are informed about this training so they are waiting for us to share these skills with them.
- We determine the implementation group, collect information about the group before the meeting, revise the modules according to the group and implement the training.
- First of all we carry out a needs analysis in order to get to know about the current needs (demographic structure) of the group. Later on we identify the usefulness of the model for this specific group. And then we revise the program according to the features of the group.
- Practice more!
- We might need to make an analysis so if the people we work with are ready or suitable for the model.
- Maybe we might need to start with other activities to introduce the module to the people that we work with.
- What are the strengths of the environment that you live in to support you in order to spread the CRM skills to a wider environment?
- They work with trauma and they are counselors.
- We think that our families and neighborhoods could help us. We hope to start working with them and gain experience over time.
- Being organized, common workspace, experience, sharing, precision about the trauma and human psychology.
- They already work in this field.
- Being open for sharing, having strong support mechanisms, existing in the field.
- Curiosity, hope and wish of learning.
- Our organization has a good structure so we have our own venues and we have close ties with the municipalities.
- Since our society is quite collective they might adopt the model easily.
- What are the challenges you are expecting to face?
- Organizational difficulties, financial difficulties.
- Physical conditions, space and materials. Cultural differences with the group. Using the skills for the first time.
- Language might be a problem because we will be teaching these skills to the Syrians as well. Cultural difference.
- Individual/ social resistance, resource problems (financial resources), institutional obstacles.
- Not being recognized by the group (if it will be the first meeting), the resistance of the group and their self- defense mechanisms.
- Bureaucracy, money.
- When and with whom can you can start using the skills?
- Actually after some practice I can start forming a group of trainers and then we can start.
- With our family and neighborhoods.
- With our colleagues and friends from our organizations. With the refugees who would like to learn the CRM skills.
- We will start on Sunday by telling about them to our assistants.
- Neighborhoods (family, friends etc.) (now J ) The field that we work in (maybe in the next few months)
- (Primarily) With the people who work with refugees.
- What kind of support you want from us for the future?
- Supporting us with your reports on previous works.
- More clinical trainings.
- You should work with the state and AFAD (Republic of Turkey Prime Ministry Disaster & Emergency Management Presidency) if you want to help us working with Syrians.
The training evaluation revealed the following: 100% felt that they were between likely to very likely to use the skills again. 67% felt their helping skills were very improved and 33% felt they were somewhat improved from taking the training. The majority of the trainees felt the training team was genuinely interested in helping them learn the skills. All in all, the response that I think is very important to highlight is that 100% felt they were likely to very likely to use the skills again.