Help refugees cope with their lives

Help refugees cope with their day to day lives in refugee camps

It’s been two years since the image of drowned three-year-old Alan Kurdi being washed up on a Turkish beach shocked the world. That singular image brought home the horror of the Syrian refugee crisis.

The conflict in the Middle East is not over, and thousands of refugees who were fortunate enough to make it to Europe alive are still homeless, living in camps, estranged from their families with no hope of work, education or certainty about their future.

My name is Zarlasht and, as Refugee Trauma Initiative's director, I am in a unique position - as a humanitarian – of having fled Afghanistan and lived the life of a refugee with all of the loss and trauma and uncertainty that refugees experience today. I know the harrowing psychological effects of war and how hard it can be to rebuild your life, or even to simply cope.

RTI is the only NGO whose mission is to provide emotional and psychological support for men, women and children in Northern Greece. Our Early Childhood Care and Development programme nurtures children’s developmental needs and complements our work with parents’ and children’s attachment. We also train and support volunteers and aid workers who work on the ground.

Since March 2016, we have been able to provide vital psychosocial support to over 2,000 vulnerable people. Thanks to a qualified, experienced and dedicated team, our work makes an impact, like in the case of Aisha and her son Mahmoud. Aisha was heavily pregnant when she and her family escaped their war-torn home in Syria and she gave birth to Mahmoud in the middle of their journey.

When RTI met him in Greece, he was four years old. He had a lot of anger and found it hard to control his emotions. His mother Aisha found it very difficult to engage with him so RTI’s therapists supporting her so that her by understanding her needs and reassuring her that her son was simply reacting to his experiences.  Aisha could eventually regulate her son’s emotions by regulating her own emotions; the effect being that when she is calmer, Mahmoud is calmer.

Now, we need your help to continue supporting vulnerable people like Aisha and Mahmoud. We want to be able to hire two more therapists who will be based in Northern Greece.  We are looking to bring therapists who specialise in child development and trauma who can help young children affected by their experiences.

We are also looking to help fathers. Often they are overlooked but they struggle to cope day to day. A male practitioner that can help connect with fathers would be able to help the whole family.   They will work as part of RTI’s team to provide psychosocial support to vulnerable individuals and families living in refugee camps and communities, as well as offering support and training to volunteers and aid workers.


Refugee Trauma Initiative is a restricted fund under the auspices of Prism the Gift Fund (Reg. charity number: 1099682)


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Zarlasht Halaimzai 
London, Greater London, United Kingdom
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