Heavy hearts find relief

REGISTERED in June 2008, Refugee Social Services (RSS) has partnered with the United Nations High Commisioner for Refugees in order to reduce Gender Based Violence (GBV) in traumatic migrant communities.

Depression manifesting as anger and violence is common among trauma victims. Starkly evident with migrants escaping bloody conflicts and persecution in their birthplace is the cycle of violence begetting more violence. Mental health care for refugees is an invisible crisis and the RSS situated at the Diakonia Centre aims to promote the psychological well-being of refugees.

Yasmin Rajah, director of RSS explains, “we run various support groups for people who run away from their country and arrive with traumas that may include GBV or others might have lost their families along the way. The people we deal with here at the centre are survivors of all sorts of violence. Reasons vary on why people run away, but one thing for sure is that the journey is traumatic irrespective of what happens along the way. It is important to help and offer them counselling, especially the ones from Central Africa.”

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New arrivals at the RSS Centre are taken through a process helping them settle and acclimatise in the country. The centre sees about 15 to 20 cases on a weekly basis.

“We cannot provide them with the necessary documentation, but we can help them with information that can make their lives better. We are about building wellness in that individual, to help him start moving forward again. The whole idea is to help them overcome their past traumatic experience,” sympathises Rajah.



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