LISTEN TO MY VOICE
A psychological support program target the school’s children and their families, with the input of a psychologist and two social workers, together with educational measures and activities to encourage community participation.
The Hope Flowers Psychological Program assists people in managing with stress and the shadow of pain by exploring alternative and peaceful ways of resolving conflicts within and between themselves. We help children face psychological trauma, fear and loss of hope, enabling them to express their feelings and release their pain. We help them develop coping skills and strategies, assisting them in overcoming personal, social and academic difficulties. We run parental support groups in which we help parents to express their feelings and speak about their hardships, engaging their support and helping them develop new parenting skills to address problems they face with their children and neighbors on a daily basis.
The psychological support program involves the following:
- Observation of individual children at the school – in some cases teacher attention can assist them;
- Personal counseling and attention for children by our psychologist, helping them bring out their feelings and develop ways to transform their attitudes, behavior and plans;
- Discussion and home visits with parents, to help them manage family and neighborhood problems arising from trauma and stress;
- Coordination between psychologists, social workers and teachers, to incorporate new educational methods for emotional release and development;
- Training of teachers from Hope Flowers and other schools;
- Holding meetings and forums for parents;
- Generally taking initiatives and innovating according to need and as situations develop.
Following our projects funded by IFA -ZIVIK in 2014 and 2015, this project repeats and builds on the activities and successes were achieved in years before in terms of trauma and supporting traumatized children.
We target 15 new schools and aim to: increase awareness about trauma and the need for supporting traumatized children, ensure cooperation/support between principals, trained teachers and counsellors, develop psycho-social life at school, strengthen the mental health of principals and increase awareness about Learning Disabilities and the need for supporting children with LD’s.
Teachers have the most interaction with children after their parents. However, too few Palestinian teachers are aware of the psychosocial needs of children. After validating the training program in first year, the program in the second year will include teachers of 30 new schools to:
- address the mental health and well-being of teachers
- increase teachers awareness about trauma/ traumatized children
- provide teachers with knowledge and skills to identify and support traumatized children
- train two teachers from each school who in turn will share their newly gained knowledge with their colleagues through designing and implementing a training program in their schools; teachers will also be trained in Learning Disabilities to better accommodate Palestinian children with these special needs.
School counsellors will provide psycho-social counselling for traumatized children based on two training modules:
Module 1: school counsellors will follow the teachers training program.
Module 2: Following module 1, school counsellors will receive a more advanced training that will incorporate the lessons learned from the 2015 evaluation.
School counsellors are provided professional supervision by supervisors working at Directorates of Education. The supervisors of school counsellors are mostly lacking for skills for professional supervision. In order to ensure the sustainability of the program after end of IFA- ZIVIK, DoE-SH suggested to: upgrade the professional skills of supervisors of school counsellors and provide them with training and train the supervisors in overseeing and supporting counsellors in the process of diagnosing learning disabilities.
The program continues to provide psycho-social support to traumatized children (new and first year kids) by providing them with life skills activities like, non-violence, mutual respect, understanding, human rights, active citizenship, etc, through psycho-social educational activities, including games, drama and psycho-social activities.
The program is implemented in 15 new schools (Public, UNRWA and private schools) in the South Hebron area of the West Bank. The schools are chosen in cooperation with Ministry of Education and in accordance with the following selection criteria: schools that are situated close to and affected by the Israeli separation wall; schools mostly affected by violence or in villages affected by violence; schools in poor and marginalized areas; schools affected by settlers and Israeli settlements.
WAR TRAUMA FOUNDATION
The program was generously funded by War Trauma Foundation – The Netherlands for three years.
The work of Hope Flowers School & Center focuses on peace education, non violence, human rights, Psycho- social counseling, trauma counseling and training of teachers and school counselors on supporting traumatized children.
The aim of the program is to provide a psycho-social support for schoolchildren and their parents by enabling the schoolteachers and counselors to recognize the symptoms of trauma in children from 6 to 16 years old and to develop appropriate responses to support children in the school.
Most of the teachers in primary schools in the region were insufficiently prepared to take good care of children who suffer from psychological trauma from violent events.
This support system for one school developed into a psychosocial support system in 110 schools, covering a wide area of the West Bank. Each year during these three years, 60 (new) teachers/school counselors from 30 different schools or more in the West Bank were trained.