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					    THE WINSTON CHURCHILL MEMORIAL TRUST OF AUSTRALIA

                    Report by Roslyn Leary – 2005 Churchill Fellow




    To explore new models of service delivery for the
   settlement of refugees who are arriving from Africa.




I understand that the Churchill Trust may publish this Report, either in hard copy or on
the Internet or both, and consent to such publication.

I indemnify the Churchill Trust against any loss, costs or damages it may suffer arising
out of any claim or proceedings made against the Trust in respect of or arising out of
the publication of any Report submitted to the Trust and which the Trust places on a
website for access over the internet.

I also warrant that my Final Report is original and does not infringe the copyright of
any person, or contain anything which is, or the incorporation of which into the Final
Report is, actionable for defamation, a breach of any privacy law or obligation, breach
of confidence, contempt of court, passing-off or contravention of any other private
right or of any law.




Roslyn Leary                                                      13/8/2006

Signed                                                           Dated




Roslyn Leary – Churchill report         Page 1
                                        INDEX



Introduction & acknowledgments                   page   3

Executive Summary                                page   4

Program & Contact Details                        page   5

Report

   -     Canada                                  page   8
   -     Europe                                  page   11
   -     Africa                                  page   13

Conclusion & Dissemination strategy              page   16




         Children of Nyamata - Rwanda




Roslyn Leary – Churchill report         Page 2
Introduction

The Australian Refugee and Humanitarian Program has changed dramatically in the
eight years I have been working with the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture
(VFST). When I started, around 65% of the intake was refugees from Europe – mostly
from the former Yugoslavia. Three years ago there was a dramatic shift towards
refugees displaced by war in Africa. At the time of my Churchill application, 80% of
the 13,000 people p.a. in this program was coming from Central and Western Africa.

VFST is an organisation that is involved in the settlement of people who have
experienced war related trauma and torture. Our primary focus has been on the
psychosocial and mental health aspects of people’s settlement.

The changing intake towards Africa indicated the need for some fundamental changes
in the way we responded to these populations. These included
    - An increased emphasis on group and communal approaches to intervention
       rather than individual responses
    - An awareness of the importance of spirituality and faith communities in the
       context of recovery and healing

Acknowledgements

My trip to North America, Europe and Africa would not have been possible without the
financial assistance of the Churchill Fellowship and for this support I am extremely
thankful.

My employer, VFST, allowed me the time and flexibility to undertake this venture and
I appreciative of that. Particular thanks to the Direct Service Management Team (Ida
Kaplan, Lew Hess and Mardi Stowe) and Arna Stewart (South East Regional Co-
ordinator) for graciously taking on additional work as a result of my extended absence.

I would like to also extend my appreciation to my referees (Colin Carter, Paris
Aristotle and Sandy Gifford) as their kind words enabled me to attain the Fellowship.
They also spent time with me in processing what it was I was looking for on this
project and their insights were invaluable.

And last but by no means least, my husband Peter Bentley for encouraging me to
pursue another of my crazy dreams and schemes and for accompanying me on the
African leg of my trip.




Roslyn Leary – Churchill report         Page 3
                                  Executive Summary

                                       V.F.S.T.                 Regional Program
Roslyn Leary       (03) 8791 2450      6 Gardiner ST            Manager –
                                       Brunswick. VIC           South East

To explore new models of service delivery for the settlement of refugees who are
arriving from Africa.

My Fellowship started in Canada and finished in South Africa. I met with a variety of
services - ranging from well resourced organisations with sophisticated, soundly
articulated service delivery models and well developed theoretical frameworks to
village-model groups that responded to their communities needs with an intuitive
primary needs approach.

The intention of my trip was to explore approaches that were particularly in touch
with an ‘African’ view of recovery. I was interested to find if and where, trauma work
and healing might be integrated with spirituality and possibly faith communities. To
this end I visited services similar to our own which have developed along Western
psychotherapeutic lines; mental health workers who work with refugees; church and
faith community workers who are working with refugee trauma and church/faith based
organisations who are also looking at healing and recovery.

A direct comparison of programs and approaches from those organisations to
Australia’s systems is perhaps not helpful and could be seen as being as useful as
comparing apples and oranges. However there were some themes that I believe could
be developed further within our own service approach.         Whilst the following
recommendations are utilised to some degree in our work, these approaches could be
integrated into our models of work in Australia in a more substantive or intentional
way.

Recommendations:

-   Services use traditional African methods of responding to healing which could
    include:
        *Group responses as a primary method of intervention – including the telling of
        individuals’ stories within that modality.
        *When appropriate, more directive counselling models
        *Greater use of bodywork with less emphasis on verbal intervention
        *Finding ways of acknowledging the importance of ritual & memorials in the
        processing of grief reactions.
-   The development of a network of leaders’ of faith communities – to train them in
    identifying and responding to refugee trauma
-   That VFST and the wider settlement services in Australia (and in particular those
    working with trauma) use their knowledge, expertise and research to work with
    less well resourced countries in a two way relationship.




Roslyn Leary – Churchill report         Page 4
                              Program & Contact Details

                                     Canada
Dates of visit   Location             Agency                    Contact person

20/3/06      – Toronto Canada         Canadian     Centre   for Mulugeta Abai
30/3/06                               Victims of Torture

                 Toronto Canada       Toronto       Community Regine King
                                      Mental Health

                 Toronto Canada       Pastoral worker St John’s Rev Gitaw Chutn
                                      Lutheran Church

                 Toronto Canada       York University – Centre Susan McGrath      &
                                      for Refugee Studies      Kyle Kinnear

                 Toronto Canada       Midaynta - Association of Ibrahim Abyiyie
                                      Somali Service Agencies

                 Toronto Canada       Barbara Trevianus        Refugee
                                                               Sponsorship
                                                               Training Program
                 Toronto Canada       Refugee    Determination Alan Bainbridge
                                      Board

                 Toronto Canada       York University (formerly Philip Shear
                                      Right to Play)

31/3/06      – Montreal Canada        Canadian    Council   for Janet Dench
6/4/06                                Refugees

                 Montreal Canada      RIVO                      John Docherty

                 Montreal Canada      Refugee Action            Glenis Williams

                 Montreal Canada      Somali Social Worker Marion Shermarke
                                      Settlement Services

                 Montreal Canada      Somali Project Health Kadhija Mohammed
                                      Worker – hospital context




Roslyn Leary – Churchill report        Page 5
                                              Europe
Dates of visit   Location                     Agency                             Contact person

9/4/06       – Canterbury. U.K.               Kent      University  – Charles Waters, Kim
13/4/06                                       European Centre for the Robinson & Lucy
                                              Study of Migration & Williams
                                              Social Care

                 Canterbury U.K.              National            Children’s Sharee Kane
                                              Bureau

                 Canterbury U.K.              University     of   Kent Martha Chinouya
                                              Institute of Human Rights
                                              & Social Justice

13/4/06          Dover U.K.                   Folkstone                          Alison ?
                                              Migrant Helpline

                 Dover U.K.                   Kent    City  Council- Jeremy Cole
                                              Unaccompanied  Minors
                                              Program

18/4/06          Antwerp Belgium              Protestant Social Centre           Tetty Rooza
19/4/06                                       of Antwerp

21/4/06          Holland                      Pharos Foundation                  Dubravka Zerkov




       Nyamarta (Rwanda) genocide memorial – ( ex Catholic Church where 10,000 were massacred)




Roslyn Leary – Churchill report                 Page 6
                                      Africa

Dates         Location            Agency                       Contact Person
14/5/06     – Kigali Rwanda       World Vision                 Josephine Munyelli
23/5/06                                                        & Solomon Gasana

               Kigali Rwanda      African          Evangelical Joseph Nyamutera
                                  Enterprise                   & Antoine Turayisirs

               Kigali Rwanda      Centre for healing of Prof                   Simon
                                  wounds of everyday life Garibirege

               Kigali Rwanda      AVEGA                        Jeanne Mutamunni

               Kigali Rwanda      Assistant    to      the Alan Nichols
                                  Consulate-General of the
                                  Republic of Rwanda in
                                  Australia

               Kigali Rwanda      World Relief                 Scott Bellows



               Nyamarta Rwanda    AAPT                         Eugenie
                                                               Mukantagara       &
                                                               Eypjeri
                                                               Nyirahumure
               Nyamarta Rwanda    Ukuri Kuganze                Samuel      Niyibizi
                                                               Celestine Buhanda
                                                               Elie Musabyimana
                                                               Gaston NtagwabiraS
29/5/06     – Cape town S.A.      The Trauma Centre            Emma Oliver
5/6/06
               Cape town S.A.     Institute for the Healing    Themba        Lonzi,
                                  of Memories                  Shanti Mather

               Cape town S.A.     Centre     for      Conflict Naria Nidoo
                                  Resolution

               Cape town S.A.     Refugee Centre               Kambo Latyo        &
                                                               Justine Olkers
               Cape town S.A.     Section 6 Memorial           Stan Abrahams




Roslyn Leary – Churchill report    Page 7
Over the fourteen months that lapsed between my first proposal and when I actually
flew out on my Churchill, many ideas and contacts changed. My original proposal was
to visit Canada, the U.S., Norway and South Africa. My final destinations were
Canada, England, Rwanda and South Africa. The changes in itinerary were due to
several factors.
- Some contacts were not available at times that suited my travel plans. This
    included a last minute cancellation of Norway as the week of my visit coincided
    with Easter break. Fortunately I was able to substitute England. However due to
    the short time frame, I was not able to arrange several potentially important
    meetings due to school holidays and several public holidays.
- Some contacts, on further scrutiny were seen to either be not viable travel wise
    (eg Vancouver) or the individual contacted did not feel that they had enough
    insight into my specific topic area (eg New York), and some did not respond to my
    emails.
- Discovering interesting new projects – (eg in Rwanda.)

I would like to acknowledge that whilst my study was around ‘African’ models of
recovery and settlement, I recognise that there is no such thing as an ‘African’ way of
being. Each different cultural group, ethnicity and individual has his, or her, own way
of seeing trauma, recovery and healing.       I was interested however to see if any
themes would emerge through my interviews and time spent with workers, individuals
and services in this field.

                                       CANADA

I began my trip in Canada (Toronto, then Montreal) because traditionally, Australia’s
Refugee & Humanitarian Program’s response to resettlement has been seen to be most
similar to Canada. Canada has also a reputation as having similar social support
networks and infrastructure to Australia.

Context

There were in fact many points of difference in the way in which Canada choses and
settles it’s refugees. In 2005, Canada (with a population of 32 million people) had
5,400 government-sponsored refugees. In addition, there were 3,000 privately
sponsored refugees. (The number of private sponsored refugees was around half of
what the program could potentially be due to the high number of rejected applications
due in part to health and security knock backs.)

On top of this number were 20,000 asylum seekers. Each service I visited was
concerned that the number of asylum seekers was dramatically reducing (most
mentioned around half in the past six months). This was due to Canada’s agreement
with the United States that results in Canada being seen as a ‘safe third country’ that
deems asylum seekers claims for asylum ineligible. In other words, asylum seekers
who arrive through the U.S. and did not apply for asylum there are deemed ineligible
in Canada. It is impossible to arrive directly in Canada without transiting another
country.    So most refugee services that are working with trauma are primarily
involved in asylum work, which is a much different starting point to our work in
Australia.



Roslyn Leary – Churchill report         Page 8
In Canada, provinces (similar to our states) are considered to be best placed to
administer settlement services and each province has much discretion in how it funds
and responds to refugees.      Toronto takes 50% of all refugees - Montreal takes 30%.
Each province responds differently to settlement. Australia has an Integrated
Settlement Strategy that is shared in all states with only minor differences.

The issues that were consistently identified in the services that I visited included:
- A decreasing number of refugees, which has resulted in the downsizing of many
   services. To stay viable, agencies have had to become increasingly diverse. The
   Canadian Centre for Survivors of Torture (CCVT) for example now also runs English
   classes and after school homework clubs. (Canada does not have designated
   English Language Schools). This has meant that they are no longer seen exclusively
   as being experts in trauma work. CCVT has a paid staff team of 16 that includes
   only three counsellors
- Government funding is through grants. Many services are successful for small to
   medium amounts of money that leads to a large number of settlement agencies. In
   the province of Ontario there are around 80.
- High reliance on the community sector – particularly church and ethno-specific
   groups. This is both a strength and a challenge as the high numbers of volunteers
   has an educative effect around refugee issues on the general population at both a
   head and a heart level. CCVT have 250 volunteers. ‘Befriending’ / ‘twinning’ and
   ‘mentoring’ were approaches that reoccurred many times during my visit. – all of
   which relied on volunteers.
- Because of the high number of asylum seekers, Canada’s refugee programs are
   often focussed on establishing safety and working at a basic needs level. This can
   mean that working on the deeper trauma issues often will not happen in a service
   that is only able to offer a short-term intervention. RIVO in Montreal can only
   offer up to 15 sessions of counselling.
- As a country, there is an increasing reliance on detention of asylum seekers. The
   detention of families with children is a new phenomenon. The length of stay
   there however is not as long as Australia – six months is considered unusually
   protracted. Services were engaged in working in detention, however the high
   turnover made the work problematic.
- There are a significant number of unaccompanied minors – these are often arriving
   completely on their own and require high levels of support.
- Most services do not have access to free interpreters. They rely primarily on bi-
   lingual staff.

Responses to my specific queries around working with faith communities / spirituality
and innovative models of intervention.

There was (as expected) a wide variety of responses. Many of the services were
auspiced by churches or run by ethno-specific communities who then saw their
mandate differently to independent secular services. And (as expected) different
individuals in each organisation reflected their own personal and professional biases to
these issues.     Most refugee services in Australia have experienced the overt
presentation of spirituality (usually Christian) in a majority of recent refugee arrivals
with the refugee program now coming from Central, Eastern and West Africa This
was not reflected in Canada. Most services there that were working with African


Roslyn Leary – Churchill report          Page 9
clients were predominantly working with Somalis. When questioned on this, some
talked of a limited engagement with mosques – however this was only usually
considered when there were serious issues around potentially dangerous behavioural
and or legal issues of domestic abuse or the possibility of suicide.

Areas of potential learning for the Australian context:

-   CCVT has developed as a mode of intervention, capacity building of its new
    communities through the governance of the organisation. The Director heads up
    seven standing committees which debate issues and make recommendations that
    are then brought to their Committee of Management. This up skills and empowers
    the community to be part of a professional organisation and assists in their
    becoming familiar with ways of working in their host community. Some of these
    standing committee members then are invited onto the Committee of
    Management. This also informs the Committee on issues of relevance and
    importance to new communities.
-   Montreal decided not to develop specific counselling services for refugees – rather
    to develop and then work within professional mainstream networks.                 An
    organisation called RIVO heads this network up - their rationale being this service
    is ‘less labelling – and more cost effective because there is little infrastructure.’
    They currently have 18 therapists who have applied to come into the network
    through an existing member who acts as a referee. RIVO then supports the
    network through training and occasional supervision.
-   RIVO has also developed a network of pastors and ministers who work with their
    refugee parishioners who have experienced trauma.
-   All organisations I spoke with had an emphasis on recruiting, training and
    supporting the community and volunteer sector – seeing this approach as being
    more sustainable and far reaching for both the clients and the general community.




RIVO - Montreal                                     Canada




Roslyn Leary – Churchill report         Page 10
                                        EUROPE

Context

I visited England and (briefly) Belgium (with an even briefer foray into Holland).
All of Europe is struggling with the huge number of asylum seekers (called asylees in
most places). The U.K.’s official refugee settlement program is negligible (in 2004 the
numbers were around 500) and all the individuals and services I visited were working
almost exclusively with asylees. In addition there were many living illegally. The
church volunteer organisations in particular were often the only services available to
those who were living illegally. In Belgium in particular, this group is most vulnerable
as when they are given the news that their application was unsuccessful, they are
escorted from the government mandated asylum hostels where they are housed and
given no further assistance to either live or leave the country.

England’s asylum claims peaked in 2004 with 85,000 applications. With an 11%
acceptance rate and increasing security and detection at French crossings as well as
decreased services available to this group, the numbers of applicants is now down by
48%. This had meant that France is now considered as having the highest number of
asylees – however it is hard to know, as most EU governments do not give these
figures.     Most acknowledge that the numbers arriving in EU countries has not
decreased – however fewer are applying for asylum due to the low acceptance rates.
Most are living in constant fear of discovery and deportation.

Due to last minute glitches in my itinerary, I was not able to visit The Medical
Foundation in London that provides both physical and psychological assistance to
survivors of torture and organised violence. I have been in communication with them
since my return and their service provides substantial intervention to both asylees and
refugees – employing almost 200 staff (mostly part time with the many in the physical
health category as well as those employed as interpreters).

Dilemmas

-   The overwhelming number of asylum seekers ensures that refugee programs are
    often focussed on providing a service that focuses on the provision of basic physical
    needs.
-   Health concerns were often raised. In England, the prevalence of HIV in asylees
    from Africa – and their reluctance to access public health systems due to the fear
    that this would result in the rejection of their asylum claims caused much disquiet
    amongst workers.
-   An increasing reliance on the detention of asylum seekers. The detention of
    children is a new phenomenon. In Belgium there were unaccompanied children in
    detention centres.
-   A significant number of unaccompanied minors are arriving in England on the
    lorries from France with no connection to anyone in the country. Their ages
    ranged from seven to eighteen. The care of these children is usually contracted to
    County Social Work Departments and they can either be looked after in foster care
    (an increasingly impossible outcome to achieve) or they live together in communal
    housing.




Roslyn Leary – Churchill report         Page 11
-   A lack of a professionalised response to the needs of this group. For example, the
    service in Kent (U.K.) that looks after the unaccompanied minors had no social
    workers or psychologists on the team except for the team leader.
-   A heavy reliance on the use of community members, family members, bilingual
    workers and non-professional interpreting staff for interpreting.

At a policy level, the Home Office and National Children’s Bureau have developed
policy papers that could be informing the governmental approaches to refugee
settlement. However, the services I met with were questioning the political will to
implement the recommendations of these documents. These papers include the Home
Offices’ National Integration Strategy that looks specifically at issues of social capital.
Of particular interest to my area was an acknowledgment of the potential strength
that could be harnessed if there was the ability to link faith communities and refugee
communities in a more sustained and systematic way. The National Children’s Bureau
had just completed a policy paper on the rights of the asylee children.




First view of England – with Folkstone Migrant Advice Centre at my back (where asylees first arrive &
request asylum).




Roslyn Leary – Churchill report                 Page 12
                     Africa – Rwanda and South Africa
Context

I was not there to look at refugee settlement programs as such. This is because Africa
as a continent does not have settlement programs. I was there to gain more insight
into how African communities view trauma and recovery and in particular to look at
the intersection between faith communities and healing.
Both South Africa and Rwanda have turbulent histories and are at present, in an
uncertain precarious situation.    In Rwanda it is estimated that every Rwandi is a
survivor – everyone was affected by the events of the civil war that culminated in the
1994 genocide that killed 1 million people (an eighth of their population).       The
numbers of South African refugee survivors of war trauma are not available. 200,000
asylum seekers from war zones in the continent were quoted in the newspapers during
my stay. The Refugee Centre in Cape Town concurred that the numbers are high but
said that no one knows – the figure they suggested for those who have unprocessed
claims was 84,000.

Dilemmas – Rwanda

-   The whole population is traumatised including the counsellors and professionals.
    There are very few trained counsellors in Rwanda – most professional people were
    targeted during the genocide and were killed or fled. Of those who survived, some
    have returned.
-   Because of the complexity of rebuilding the whole country, there are many
    competing demands for money and resources (including trained staff)
-   The scale of the problem. Each Rwandi has their own trauma history – either as a
    survivor or as a returnee.
-   The lack of infrastructure in the country. My visit to services out of the capital
    city showed that these providers had no external resources and no access to them.
    When I offered our resources, (which are available on CD disk), they had no
    computers and more often than not, no electricity.
-   High levels of poverty and dependence on overseas aid and development money.
    Most development dollars are not able to sustain the long-term work needed for
    such a complex circumstance.

Areas of potential learning for the Australian context:

-   The importance of communal and group therapy. Groups were the medium of
    almost all of the work done here – it was seen as being the most legitimate
    expression of ‘African-ness’.
-   Recovery is a long process. The Government of Rwanda has said that the healing
    process is at least a 20-year commitment. The individual programs that I saw that
    were most successful were given significant periods of time. The Personal
    Development Workshops run by World Vision for example run over eleven days –
    everyone acknowledged that more time was needed – however this was the
    maximum most people could take off without income.




Roslyn Leary – Churchill report        Page 13
-   The overt horror of the history of Rwanda may be one of the factors as to why this
    country has placed a great premium on reconciliation and healing programs. Part
    of this includes the inter-connectedness of the warring factions and groups within
    the community that participated in the genocide. Most Western style recovery
    programs would never have survivors and perpetrators in the same group – however
    all of the services I visited (except AVEGA which is a service for widow survivors of
    the genocide) actively work at bringing the two groups together into a relationship
    within their group work models. The surprising outcome for me was that this was
    usually the site of healing. The attitude there was – ‘the community has wounded
    and killed each other – the community must heal together.’            The individual
    stories need to be heard and validated by all (ie .the survivor and the perpetrator)
    for recovery.
-   The power for healing that comes from anniversary ceremonies (every April there
    is a week of mourning – and at the ten year point there was a hundred days of
    mourning) and memorials (each town, city and site of genocide has a genocide
    memorial which is protected and maintained with federal funds). The way forward
    needs to acknowledge and not sweep under the carpet the history – no matter how
    tempting it may be to do so.
-   The scale and urgency of the problem, which leads to the desire to ‘get straight to
    the point’. I was told on several occasions that Westerners were ‘too fragile’.
    ‘People here have come to understand about healing and recovery – don’t waste
    time talking about other things’.
-   The need to come to terms with the role of the church (and other powerful
    institutions) in their participation and complicity in the pain. Rwanda is a very
    Christian country. Pre 1994, the population was 98% Catholic. Now the estimated
    number of practicing Christians is around 80%. Most Rwandi’s see their trauma
    intertwined with their spiritual journey (either in a positive sense or a negative
    one) and some of the programs reflected that.              Because of the church’s
    chequered history in the genocide (25% of the priests that stood against the
    slaughter were killed and significant numbers of the remaining 75% have been put
    on trial as being perpetrators or complicit in the genocide). I visited organisations
    that are working with the church leaders to assist them in both their own trauma
    recovery and then to help their parishioners.

Dilemmas – South Africa

-   Because of the many wounds still evident in post-apartheid South Africa, there is a
    multitude of competing needs for various mental health programs. The Trauma
    Centre in Cape Town, for example, deals with any survivors of organised and
    political violence. Refugees are only a small percentage of their client group and
    finding funding for this service is very problematic. In the past they have survived
    on overseas money – however that is dwindling and they are now a service of only
    eight part time staff (two who work with refugees)
-   All services are heavily reliant on churches/mosques and Christian based services
    for operation costs and their volunteer base. Until recently there had been some
    financial assistance from the UNHCR to the Refugee Centre – however that was
    reduced by 50% last year.
-   Refugee issues are only now being acknowledged in South Africa – with the
    processing of asylum claims only occurring in the last couple of years.




Roslyn Leary – Churchill report         Page 14
-   Because of the lack of a ‘safety net’ for asylum seekers, the support services tend
    to work primarily with the provision of basic physical needs.
-   There are no interpreter services available in South Africa that are affordable for
    not-for-profit agencies.
-   Health and housing issues for asylum seekers are paramount as there is no
    government assistance. There is also an increasing problem with HIV and other
    serious health concerns.

Areas of potential learning for the Australian context:

With the exception of the Refugee Centre, the services I visited are dealing with the
wider issue of trauma outside of refugee-specific trauma. What I gleaned from their
specific ways of responding to trauma within a more African worldview was
- The importance of group programs – individual work was looked at suspiciously.
   The ideas behind this include ’what are people hiding if they are not sharing’ and
   ‘this is a community problem not an individual problem’.
- The power of story telling (especially in group settings). The therapeutic value of
   people to be able to tell their story in a group setting to validate their struggle,
   suffering and survival.
- The need to not rely so heavily on verbal therapy – the use of the whole body in
   movement and song in recovery was considered to be extremely therapeutic and
   healing.
- The value of ‘straight talking’. I was told many times that often African clients see
   Western forms of questioning within a counselling context as being too ‘soft’.
- The importance of ritual and memorial sites




              Emma Oliver at the Trauma Centre – Cape Town South Africa




Roslyn Leary – Churchill report            Page 15
                                    Conclusion
The places and people I visited reinforced to me that wherever there is human need,
there are people of good will who find appropriate and supportive ways to respond.
Services in the different countries that I visited showed that the responses offered
were appropriate to the level of resource and skill available.

Personally the most important lessons I learnt from this trip included the importance
of the community in healing (albeit the wider, local or faith community); the value of
people having the opportunity to tell their individual stories of suffering and survival
and then being heard, validated and acknowledged within a group / community
context and the importance of ritual and memorial sites for recovery.

This trip offered me the opportunity to see with clarity that the work VFST is doing is
‘on the right track’. We have started on the road of engaging with faith communities
and seeing the importance of the role of spirituality in recovery; with using group work
as a primary site of intervention and with engaging in non-verbal as well as verbal
therapies.    We have also become better at seeing our clients as being the part of our
learning about what recovery and settlement means to them.

The most overt difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’, I found, was the level of funding
that Australia has extended to its Refugee and Humanitarian Program. This was far
ahead of any country I visited and our resources were the envy of every other agency.
This discovery has brought to me a realisation that we (and in particular the VFST)
should seek to use these resources, knowledge and skills we are acquiring to assist
others’ globally who have do not have access to such wealth.

Dissemination strategy

Overseas
During my Churchill I was asked to do presentations focussing on Australia’s refugee
settlement services – and more particularly how VFST works with refugee trauma. This
was done through the York University Centre for Refugee Studies in Toronto, Canada
and Kent University – European Centre for the Study of Migration & Social Care in
Canterbury, England.

Australia
I am currently undertaking a series of forums, information sessions and workshops
around the findings of my trip. Initially I have presented them according to the
continents visited within my work context.         I also plan to present to VFST’s
Committee of Management.
I now have plans to have several regional forums for workers who are working within
the settlement field and with refugee clients with an overview of the findings and
recommendations.
Various faith communities that have an interest in refugee groups, trauma and
reconciliation and healing are also interested in my findings. One such presentation
has occurred with another is planned in the near future.




Roslyn Leary – Churchill report         Page 16

				
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