ACT International has a busy and exciting year ahead!

In 2019 Luna Children’s Charity celebrates its tenth birthday, and has chosen ACT International as its new ‘grown up’ identity and changed its name to describe more clearly what we do and where. We will be working in two more countries and developing new partnerships with like-minded organisations for greater impact on children’s mental health.

In April, we will return to Gaziantep to train 3 new trainers who have been using CATT to help Syrian refugee children in Turkey since we first worked there four years ago. Security concerns have prevented us returning before now, so we are delighted to be going back soon to train them, plus another 15 people to use CATT for the first time. The team will include Dr Ghalia Al Asha from Jordan, with UK-based Maria Chambers and Clinical Trustee Toria Burch.

Ghalia and Toria

Also in April, Trustee Brenda Graham will visit Uganda to catch up with our Operational Manager there, Elias Byaruhanga, who is leading some great in-country work on safeguarding. Brenda will also visit Butabika Hospital, Bishop Asili Counselling Centre and Kisubi University. She will be joined by Alhagie Camara on a fact-finding mission to find out how mental health and trauma services are organised in Uganda. This will help him, with our support, to establish effective services in his native Gambia when he returns there in June.

Alhagie Camara

When the Liberians we trained last year are ready, we will return to there for more CATT training, led by James Nsereko with the help of another Ugandan trainer. Because trauma work is now so well embedded in Uganda, where we have trained a large number professionals, it is exciting to be able to use their skills in other African countries such as Liberia and the Gambia, which are now recovering from many years of corruption and violence.

Liberian CATT trainees 2018 – some of them will become trainers in 2019

Following the training of Gazan counsellor Mohammed El Sharef last year, we are actively working on a project to give him ongoing support for his trauma work with children in partnership with our ‘sister’ charity Firefly International. Children and young people in Gaza are so very vulnerable in the current volatile situation.

And on top of all this, we are now working closely with Jonathan Andrews of Remarkable Partnerships, to find a corporate sponsor who will really help us raise our game to the next level. So, we’ve everything to play for in 2019-20!