Qatar Red Crescent Society establishes psychological services centre for Syrian refugees

Published: 17 April 2013 14:13 CET

Among its humanitarian activities for refugees since the beginning of the crisis in Syria, the Qatar Red Crescent Society has launched a psychosocial support centre in cooperation with the Jordan National Red Crescent Society.

The centre, which was launched with the presence of Qatar Ambassador in Jordan, will provide support for refugees in the Zaatari camp to help them adapt to new life conditions away from their homes.

After introducing themselves to the refugees, the society’s psychosocial volunteers were greeted and welcomed by a woman who had recently left her home. She said: "I have plenty of free time and I would like to benefit from the psychosocial support programmes offered, especially from the vocational courses and crafts for women. I’d like to see the smile on my son’s faces after we return back home.”

Dr Mohammed Al-Maadheed, Chairman of Qatar Red Crescent Society, said: "Part of our strategy is that relief should not be limited to providing food, non-food items and shelters but will include productive social, educational and entertainment activities that would help spread hope, eliminate anxiety and help bring back the smiles on the faces of children and their mothers. It is very important to keep the youth engaged in creative and meaningful activities that would keep them optimistic and positive about the future.”

The organization had a responsibility to alleviate physical and psychological suffering in time of crises, Dr Al-Maadheed said. “Our assessment showed an immediate need to fill this gap and this psycho-social support center came at the right time. We are very pleased to see the communities at the camps enjoying and benefiting from those activities," he said.

The importance of this centre was emphasized through the camp residents who mentioned the strong need for psychosocial activities, and their willingness to invest time and effort in engaging with them. The Red Crescent society, in coordination with Jordan Red Crescent Society, will follow up to make sure services are making positives changes in this transitional stage of the refugees’ lives while learning new skills peacefully and productively.

The Centre, located next to the populated areas in Zaatari camp, is the second to be opened by the joint efforts of the two National Societies. The first centre was established in Mafraq city and provides play therapy and other activities for children, and also offers vocational courses in women's programme and lectures to raise awareness on family related issues.

To engage the youth in such programmes, the centre organizes a Youth Sports Programme where a dedicated space is provided for football matches, and a Peace Championship was organised to encourage the sportsmanship amongst these young Syrians and to revive their morals and spirit.

In the next phase, interviews will be conducted by 50 Qatar Red Crescent Society volunteers who are well-trained on the Red Cross Red Crescent principles and values in order to start implementing the psychosocial support services which meet the needs of the families in the Zaatari camp.