Helping refugees help refugees
In Egypt, we train refugees to help other refugees. Tdh works together with the Psycho-Social Services and Training Institute in Cairo (PSTIC) that provides culturally and contextually sensitive community-based support by refugees to refugees. To achieve this, 110 psychosocial workers from refugee communities were trained to assist people in need to manage their problems linked to migration including protection, mental health and their well-being in general. They reached 14’000 migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in 2018. Meet Abdi*, a refugee himself who helps others integrate and get back to a normal life in Egypt.
“Refugees here lack security and stability, they need protection, food, housing, shelter and financial support. They are subject to discrimination, harassment, and have to go through a long process to get a residence visa.
I was confronted to the needs of my community which motivated me to work for others and to gain more skills. I started working with PSTIC as a volunteer. After seven months, I got promoted as a psychosocial worker.
In my work with PSTIC, I support refugees by making home visits. I help them by offering counselling and psychosocial support, sharing information about services available in the community and responding to their emergency needs. Community integration is also an issue, especially for newcomers. I raise awareness to help them live peacefully in their neighbourhood. Legal support is also important because refugees can get arrested for not having a visa to stay in Egypt.
It helps a lot that I can communicate with refugees in their language, it’s very reassuring for them. As a refugee, I know what other refugees feel and understand their suffering.”
Abdi is 36 years old and originally from Somalia. He works as a psychosocial and emergency coordinator in Egypt, where he arrived back in 2010.
*Not his real name.
Photo credit: © Tdh/Ollivier Girard