Our past training initiatives in Minnesota focused on increasing knowledge about the effects of torture and strengthening existing services for the care of torture survivors. We trained mainstream health and human services providers, teachers and refugees. Our goal was to build networks among professionals and refugee communities to improve communication, access to care and understanding of torture and war trauma survivors.
In 2005 CVT launched an ambitious project to bring healing to recently resettled refugees and immigrants living in the Minneapolis suburbs of Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center. Over 15,000 African immigrants had moved into the community and estimates at that time revealed that 8,500 of them were survivors of torture and conflict-related trauma.
CVT developed the New Neighbors/Hidden Scars project to bring together a network of schools, clinics, churches and social service organizations to help these new residents heal from their physical and emotional wounds. This network planned ways to help the new community members receive their basic needs and rebuild their lives.
With the help of the network, the New Neighbors/Hidden Scars project:
CVT completed the three-year project in November 2008.
Project StudyCommunicating Trauma with Providers (PDF) was a CVT study conducted in 2006 that found many refugees fleeing political conflict and violence are affected by their experiences but have not spoken to their doctors about them.
Our Minnesota Mainstream project trained doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers and other professionals about the devastating effects of torture and recommended specific ways to support torture survivors. The project focused on professionals in various Minnesota communities where refugees and immigrants were located. By understanding the torture experience, these professionals learned to provide their services in a way to help torture survivors. The Minnesota Mainstream Project provided training to nearly 17,000 professionals between 1997 and 2003. CVT built on this ambitious project in developing our other community-based training projects—New Neighbors/Hidden Scars and Healing in Partnership.