Despite regular flare-ups in fighting, War Trauma Foundation remains active in South Sudan. In the past few months we were able to train over 140 people working in different refugee camps in the young country. We did this in close cooperation with the UN Refugee organisation UNHCR and the Dutch Relief Alliance.
South Sudan declared independence in 2011 after an independence struggle of over 20 years. Shortly after a new civil war broke out. A quarter of South Sudan’s 12 million population is displaced and in the past 4 years an estimated 300,000 people were killed. South Sudan leads the list of Most Fragile States, surpassing Somalia.
During the workshop organised by UNHCR we trained 25 health professionals and 56 community workers in providing mental health care and psychosocial support. The workshop focused on basic skills with regards to mental health care in humanitarian emergencies. Participants were enthusiastic. “I will never forget what I learned here,” one participant said: “We will take this home and even to the Nubian mountains!”
At the training with the Dutch Relief Alliance, staff of the aid organisations were educated in recognizing mental disorders and psychosocial problems of displaced and otherwise war affected people. A number of tools were discussed which can be used in limited resource settings. We trained sixty people in Aweil, Juba and Wau.One of the participoants from Wau said: “As a Community Worker I have acquired more knowledge on how to handle people with mental disorder. I can now support them without tears and with more confidence.”
War Trauma Foundation is a member and technical partner of the Dutch Relief Alliance (www.dutchrelief.org). The alliance consists of 14 humanitarian organisations from the Netherlands that work together to align emergency aid.