Since the beginning of the national uprising in 2011, conflict in Syria has escalated and nearly half a million people have lost their lives, including over 50,000 children.
More than half of Syria’s population have fled their homes. About 5.1 million Syrians are refugees who’ve left the country across borders to Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, and 6.3 million are internally displaced within Syria
Of those displaced, half are children. These children are at risk of becoming malnourished, physically sick, abused, or exploited, and are extremely likely to have experienced trauma. Many have been out of education for many years, and are being called a ‘lost generation’.
The number of refugees created by the Syrian conflict shows no sign of slowing down.
In April 2014, we completed a level 2 training course in Turkey, qualifying 11 mental health professionals to deliver CATT, giving them the tools they needed to safely and effectively help traumatised children overcome the symptoms of PTSD. In May 2015, we did the same in Lebanon, training 24 mental health professionals, volunteers and refugee workers, and in February 2016 we trained a further 15.
Our attempts to return to Turkey in 2017 were thwarted by the security situation, but we are now planning a fourth level 2 training course in Turkey or Jordan in 2018, plus a level 3 course in either Turkey or Lebanon later in the year.
All of our work in the Middle East is done in partnership with our local Middle Eastern training partners; currently Syria Relief, the Syrian American Medical Society and UOSSM. We also work closely with UK based charity Firefly International, whose innovative work supports the growth and rehabilitation of children in the Middle East through the provision of safe, supportive environments and arts-based education. Please click here to learn more about Firefly’s wonderful work.
Uganda has experienced almost continuous conflict since independence, through the regime of Idi Amin until the mid 1980s, when President Museveni came to power
People in the north especially are still living with the consequences of frequent attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army which only ceased in 2006
Uganda is now the centre of the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis. In the past 12 months the central African nation has taken in around 1.3 million people — more than Greece, Turkey or any other country in the world at the height of last year’s crisis in Europe.
Every day around 2,000 people stream across Uganda’s borders fleeing famine, drought and violence in neighbouring countries, including 800,000 from South Sudan .
Over the last 5 years, we have delivered four level 2 courses and one Level 3, and trained an additional five Ugandans in the UK and Tanzania. As a consequence we now have 65 trained CATT practitioners in Uganda and 9 Ugandan CATT trainers, plus data on over 50 children treated from all over Uganda. In August 2017 we have supported our Ugandan trainers to deliver a further CATT Level 2 course in Mbarara in the west of Uganda, so that we can help people who live in some of the poorest areas, far from the capital Kampala. You can read a recently published social impact assessment on our work in Uganda by clicking here: SIA Uganda 2016.
THE FRIENDS OF BUTABIKA CHILDREN’S WARD
Also in Uganda, we have been supporting the children’s ward of Butabika National Referral Hospital since June 2013, via a Luna special children’s rights project called the Friends of Butabika Children’s Ward. In January 2016, we provided a training course in therapeutic play for the volunteers of St Luke’s Chapel who are working with the ward’s child patients as well as children in schools across Kampala. In November 2016 we provided a follow-up training day. For more information about this project, please click here.
BISHOP ASILI COUNSELLING CENTRE, LIRA
Bishop Asili Counselling Centre in Lira, northern Uganda, supports several hundred women and children who have been affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Some have lost family members in attacks, are the victims of rape and violence themselves, or are returning captives. The Centre provides vocational training as well as psychological counselling and mental health education. Sister Florence Achulo is the Director of the Centre and a qualified psychologist who has treated many children using CATT following Luna’s Level 2 training at Butabika Hospital in September 2013. However, Lira is largely by-passed by aid agencies and Sister Florence struggles to attract funding. Support for the Centre has therefore become a second ‘children’s rights’ project for Luna.
We visited the Centre in January and November 2016, and with the help of the pupils of Mill Chase School, Bordon, we have now been able to provide them with a motorbike with which to visit children living in outlying villages.
Luna is now working with Partners in Nigeria and Pakistan to develop plans to help the child victims of fundamentalist extremism in these two countries.