Social Integration Support
HOPE works for Refugees and Asylum Seekers those been forced to leave their home country to seek refuge but now are stranded and facing discrimination in Thailand. Social Integration and Support Program will allow refugees to come through their currently hugely challenging process of settlement more comfortably and definitively. As an organisation HOPE has worked on various projects and now working with qualified Counsellors, Social Workers and Educators who have an extensive experience of working with vulnerable groups. HOPE will provide a training course in to allow volunteers to support families and individuals effectively.
This four days course will be run by qualified Health professionals (likely social workers and counsellors) and will involve teaching around empathy, smart goals, and note taking as key points. Volunteers will be required to give 2×2 hour sessions per week to the allocated individual/family. During these times the family/individual can be supported with their main issues of concern. These may be concerns around budgeting, finding work or perhaps even having enough food to eat. Should there be concerns around actually eating the individual or family will be given donations of food. It is expected that the individuals/families in question will often need lots of validation and emotional support to buffer likely post-traumatic stress. The training will help to make our volunteers aware of these issues and good methods of intervention. It is hoped since our volunteers will likely to have gone through the process themselves that they will be able to provide a positive sense of role modelling that they have been able to make it.
Our volunteers will most typically be people who have also come from same country and have already been through this difficult process of settling. We believe this will add to their empathic qualities that they will be able to bring to the volunteer role. The training will be of a very person centred nature and although there is a good general framework to the training much will also be finding out from our volunteers what it was they needed and what they feel would best help. Our trainers come from Counselling, social education and social work background. We initially aim to bring on board 10 volunteers for this first training course. At a later date we wish to employ two trainers who will be in the social work/counselling field who will be able to take over this role of training, as well as supervision and necessary client assessments etc. After this first training course an initial meeting will take place with the client/family whereby the volunteer and supervisor will produce a list of goals for the family to work on for the following six months. Time will be organised for the volunteer to meet with the family either once or twice a week. Each meeting the volunteer will have a few questions for which to get answers for from the client session to be filed away. These will not necessarily be asked directly but it will be expected that this information is obtained from the meeting which will be passed back to the supervisor. This will involve finding information such as how the client presented, what they would like to work on this session, how they report being since the last visit, etc.
A monthly check-in can happen with the supervisor and the client/family. The volunteer will also have a monthly supervision to discuss the client/family and the best ways to proceed. A huge thing we wish to instil throughout the project which is profound yet simple is to give a sense of ‘REASONABLE HOPE’ and ‘VALUE OF BEING THERE’ to families. We want families to be able to feel a sense that they are able to make it through to the next step whatever that may be. Also we want these individuals and families to feel that sense that someone is with them in their situation and able to see the world through their eyes. Obtaining this alone will be a massive marker of the success of the program and we will endeavour to make sure that clients are obtaining this and to direct the project accordingly with this goal in mind. A qualified Counsellor and Social worker will be available via Skype and other social media to be contacted for support and will also be able to provide any extra needed training via online as the program gets up and running. It is anticipated that the project can ultimately come to greater stability through the guidance of our staff. The goal will be for the project to expand through further training, staff, and volunteers so ultimately all refugees are gaining the support required to integrate fully. A further goal is to develop similar programs in different countries such as our home country of New Zealand and others. We see this issue of refugee status and achieving appropriate integration as a global issue which we are determined to tackle effectively.
In October 2017, we have started a program “Psychosocial Support Program”. This program was developed by Mr. Philip Walker (New Beginning Therapy) to support refugees and asylum seekers in Thailand. The training program was mainly designed to train people around basic counselling skills and the value of ‘being there’ while also supporting people to work towards certain goals and also giving practical support e.g. food donations and medical expenses. The training program lasted for 3 days. The people who were trained had been in the situation themselves but had been released into a place of greater stability. They were now in a space where they felt they could support others and due to experiencing what they had, gave them power to be able to give greater empathy
At the end of this time 3 volunteers were chosen to continue the project. The project has carried on since this time with two volunteers who have been consistently working with stranded families. Families were assessed as to what their main needs are, then they were supported from this point with regular visits. We continue to seek support to fund this project further to allow more volunteers to be able to visit more families. We hope for this to be able to run alongside a greater political awareness of this situation and thereby to promote political change so the families are able to move to another country or to be able to become more integrated into the Thai communityThe people who were trained had been in the situation themselves but had been released into a place of greater stability. They were now in a space where they felt they could support others and due to experiencing what they had, gave them power to be able to give greater empathy
Our volunteers have been visiting families and providing moral support and making sure that families have adequate information to cope during their difficult times. Volunteers did their best to connect families to the appropriate service which was required as per family need. Volunteers were chosen to receive and manage funds that were sent from New Zealand to support families for their food and emergency needs