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Twinning Association

رابطة توأمة نابلس دندي

Child Trauma Recovery in Nablus

Helping traumatised children in our Twin City

Nablus is a city under military occupation so the children there see and suffer in many different ways. We will be helping them to recover from traumas and grief through a series of effective techniques.

DNTA Convener Mike Whitehead reports that "the Dundee-Nablus Twinning Association is proud to be working with the University of Dundee to help traumatised children in Nablus - our twin city".

Dr Ian Barron is an experienced Educational Psychologist at the University of Dundee. He explains that "many children in Nablus have witnessed awful horrors by a very young age. These include witnessing the death of a loved one, seeing mutilated bodies, family members taken away to detention, loss of friends and pets. They also suffer less visible losses such as schooling and identity. Such losses can lead to flashbacks, hyper-arousal, sleeplessness, bed wetting, lack of concentration, aggression and numbing."

But fortunately there are well-proven techniques which can help. Dr Barron says, “We will use a manual produced by the Children & War Foundation (based in Norway). This teaches children techniques to cope with multiple & cumulative traumatic losses.

For example, the Memory Box helps grieving children to learn to live with their loss over time. Other techniques help children to sleep better, to learn to feel again and to re-build self-esteem. To manage their grieving when they feel overwhelmed they learn dozing and relaxation strategies, They can also talk out their grief, re-claiming happy thoughts.

School counsellors holding certificates Dr Ian Barron with previous graduates of the training programme for school counsellors

Dr Barron has been working in partnership with Dr Ghassan Abdullah at the Centre for Applied Research in Education (C.A.R.E.) in Ramallah. They have already trained hundreds of schools’ counsellors, reaching thousands of grieving children across Occupied Palestine (benefiting children in Nablus, the West Bank and Gaza). Follow-up studies have checked that the training has been effective. (Read more ...)

This latest project will build on previous successful field trials. School counsellors in Nablus will be taught recovery techniques from the Manual. Dr Barron says, "It is our hope that in a few years every child in Nablus will have been through the trauma healing programme, and that children in our twinned city can reclaim their lost childhood."

Poster for the project It’s the children’s own teachers who will incorporate the programme in their classroom activities – so reaching many children across the city.

Although Dr Barron and Dr Abdullah are giving their time for free, there are many other costs to be met. DNTA is raising £2,200 to enable the project to go ahead. FONSA (Friends of Nablus and Surrounding Areas) is a Scottish charity acting as delivery partner. Gift Aid can be claimed on eligible donations making each one worth 25% more and helping us to reach our target.

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