Healing and Human Rights: A Blog by the Center for Victims of Torture

Showing all blog posts in refugee mental health

For nearly three years, the Center for Victims of Torture has provided mental health care to refugees in the world’s largest refugee camp in northeastern Kenya. We hire and train men and women who are part of the refugee community in Dadaab, a complex of camps near the Somali-Kenya border. As mental health paraprofessionals, or psychosocial counselors (PSCs), they were recruited through a very competitive interviewing process.

Refuge: Caring for Survivors of Torture is an insightful one-hour documentary about the experiences of torture survivors and those who provide care to them. It highlights the need for appropriate, sensitive care for all survivors who seek refuge in the United States. Interviews with a number of survivors as well as professionals working at torture rehabilitation centers – including CVT – humanize and demystify the process of healing after extreme violence.Producer/director Ben Achtenberg spoke to us about his film. Ben is the owner and project director of the Refuge Media Project, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Judith Twala, MA, is a psychotherapist/trainer with the Center for Victims of Torture in Dadaab, Kenya. Dadaab is the world’s largest refugee camp in the northeast region of Kenya, close to the Somali border. Most refugees in this complex of camps are from Somalia with others from South Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and other countries.

Each year, thousands of Eritreans flee to refugee camps in northern Ethiopia to escape forced military inscription, persecution, and torture. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently announced that Ethiopia is now the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa. According to UNHCR, Ethiopia is host to 629,718 refugees. The largest refugee population is South Sudanese (247,000), followed by Somalis (245,000), and Eritreans (99,000). UNHCR says that, over the past seven months, almost 15,000 Eritreans arrived in Ethiopia.As the Eritrean government targets the families of young men who flee the country to avoid forced conscription, more women and children have also fled Eritrea seeking refuge in Ethiopia.

Kalo Sokoto is a Counseling Supervisor with CVT's healing initiative in Nairobi, Kenya.

I have an experience which, even after months, I cannot seem to shed from my memory.

Veronica Laveta, CVT International Services Clinical Advisor, and Jennifer Esala, Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor, recently traveled to Washington, DC for a U.S.

Every year on June 20, we pay tribute to the courage, strength and resilience of refugees.

This week in Geneva, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees will convene its Annual Consultations with Non-Governmental Organizations. More than 240 national and international NGOs will be represented by over 460 participants to discuss issues, network, and exchange views with UNHCR.

Today’s post is in honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness day.

Annie Sovcik, Esq., CVT's Director of the Washington Office, writes on the need to expand mental health services for refugees and survivors of humanitarian emergencies worldwide. CVT is the co-founder of the Global Mental Health Advocacy Working Group.

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