“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
The Psycho-Social Training Institute in Cairo (PSTIC) is an initiative which began in April 2009. A group of international and national organizations along with the United Nations and AUC have been collaborating together in order to facilitate this initiative.
The goals of the Institute are to increase the psychosocial and mental health support presently offered to refugees. To do this, the Institute provides a series of training initiatives:
• Monthly Public Seminars related to psychosocial and mental health support to refugees.
• Community based awareness workshops to build psychosocial and mental health knowledge and self-help skills.
• Research to gauge the impact of the Center’s training in actually assisting refugees with psychosocial and mental health issues in Cairo.
• Annual Regional Conference on issues and treatment of psychosocial and mental health issues of urban refugees.
• Annual 9 Month Training Program for Community Based Psychosocial Workers.
A selected group of refugees will be trained over 9 months as Psychosocial Workers able to provide community based psychosocial support, by refugees for refugees, in their own languages and in accordance with their own cultures and traditions.
To ensure that the future Psychosocial Workers are able to utilize what is learned immediately they will be selected and employed by organizations presently assisting refugees in schools, religious institutions, health facilities, counseling centers, development programs etc.
The services that they will learn to provide to their communities will include:
• Community based psychosocial needs assessment.
• Psycho-education as a method to increase the knowledge and capacities of communities to prevent and respond to psychosocial and mental issues.
• Facilitation of Community support groups.
• Community based crisis intervention.
• Psychosocial support and basic counseling for individuals and families.
• Conflict mediation for use with families or community members.
• Advocacy on the behalf of the psychosocial or mental health needs of refugees.
• Referral to professional psychological or mental health and other services.
Not only will these Psychosocial Workers become an important source of support to their communities but they will also serve as a bridge for psychosocial assessment, support, crisis response and advocacy between refugee communities, NGOs, the Government and UN organizations.