Our partner network brings together practitioners from around the world to build a platform for better understanding, engagement and capacity building on mental health and psychosocial support for displaced communities and those that work alongside them.
Our partners co-facilitate working groups, research, practical workshops, training, and public events. Our partners come from a range of expertise and experience, and all are at the forefront of working within some of the most critical displacement-mental health challenges of our time.
Partners include practitioners, researchers, scientists, innovators, journalists, photographers, creatives, NGOs and institutions and those who have direct experience of crisis-induced forced displacement.
If you would like to be included in this partner network please contact us at email@example.com
Saleh Kh. Al-Bala'wi has nine years of experience working with NGOs related to gender equality, female graduates, women empowerment, and in the education in emergency field with INEE members. Saleh has had many roles working with Gaza-based organisations, including as a counsellor for UNRWA, fundraising and resource development coordinator for GIZ, and as general manager with Huda for female entrepreneurial projects. Saleh is currently working with the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in M&E and MIS.
Elena Dina Boukouvala
Elena Dina Boukouvala is the founder of Play is Hope, a collective of refugees, migrants and locals that builds international communities through play and performance (www.playishope.com). Elena is from Greece. A performance activist, drama and movement therapist (MA), counsellor of children and young people (MA) and developmental psychologist. She has worked in schools, mental health hospitals, rehabilitation wards and community settings across Europe.
The early part of Jane’s career was spent as a Clinical Psychologist within Adult Mental Health Services in the UK. Subsequently, she has worked as an independent consultant specialising in the design and delivery of workshops/training on psychological self-care and mental health issues in cross-cultural contexts, consultancy to INGOs, and the assessment and evaluation of mental health programmes. She has worked in The Gambia, Uganda, Lesotho, Ghana, Jordan, Liberia, Turkey, Gaza and South Sudan. Jane’s particular interests include the effects of culture and language on personal identity, and the integration of different cultural understandings in training and mental health services.
Tel: (44) (0)1768 898202
Mob: (44) (0)7803790958
The author and trauma psychologist Justine Hardy has worked in South Asia for more than twenty-five years. As a psychologist and former foreign correspondent, Justine is the founder of Healing Kashmir, a path-breaking integrated mental health project designed to address the mental health crisis in the strife-torn region. Justine practices in India, the UK and the US, across dramatically different geographies and cultures. She is the author of six books, three of which have been serialized on BBC radio 4.
Anne van den Ouwelant
Since 2007, Anne has been working as an art therapist with traumatised children and youngsters in the Netherlands and abroad. Since 2010, she has been developing and coordinating projects on psychosocial support in countries affected by war and conflict. Anne provides on the spot training in art therapy and trauma support to local workers. She is specialised in trauma caused by (drug related) violence in South America. In 2016 she completed her advanced training in psycho- traumatology, trauma pedagogics, trauma counselling and trauma support with traumahilfezentrum wings of hope and zentrum für psychotraumatologie und traumatherapie niedersachsen.
Contact Anne at firstname.lastname@example.org
Connect with Anne on LinkedIn
Gail Womersley has recently joined the University of Neuchâtel as a doctoral assistant. Her research concerns trauma from a cultural perspective among victims of torture seeking asylum in Europe. Before joining the university, she worked with Médecins Sans Frontières as a clinical psychologist in projects assisting refugee and internally displaced populations in South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Ukraine, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo. She has also worked with other non-governmental organisations in Israel and the United Kingdom, as well as for the Department of Health and the Department of Defense in South Africa. She is particularly interested in cross-cultural manifestations of trauma and its implications for legal and social policy as well as clinical practice.
Connect with Gail on her website Migration and Mental Health.
Action on Armed Violence
AOAV carries out investigations, advocacy and field programmes towards a single goal - reducing the incidence and impact of armed violence.
STRENGTHEN international commitment and capacity to achieve measurable reductions in armed violence.
INCREASE effective support for communities affected by armed violence.
BUILD norms and laws to stop the use of weapons that cause unacceptable civilian harm.
Child Soldiers International
We want all children to enjoy their human rights, free from military use and exploitation. To achieve this, we support communities to resist recruitment activities, advocate for stronger legal standards worldwide, and campaign to ensure that decision-makers protect children’s rights more effectively.
Although we refer to climate refugees, the concept does not exist in international law. Climate Refugees seeks to change that.
Significant scientific evidence exists to suggest that climate change is impacting our planet, posing adverse effects to human lives. However, we lack details on issues faced and the numbers of people displaced across borders as a result of climate change in all its forms - from environmental degradation to natural disasters. Climate Refugees exists to close that gap. We believe that policies shift when field evidence is heard.
At Climate Refugees, we travel the world, listening and speaking to those displaced across international frontiers by climate change. Through our in-field research that documents the humanitarian consequences of displacement, Climate Refugees strengthens existing advocacy initiatives with field evidence.
Coalition for Work with Psychotrauma & Peace
At Dawar we utilise participatory theatre, therapeutic drama and other arts-based processes for healing, dialogue and societal transformation from the grassroots up.
Our team consists of artists, educators, psychotherapists and healing practitioners from Egypt, Lebanon and abroad. We specialise in Psychodrama, Playback Theatre, Theatre of the Oppressed, physical theatre, expressive arts, dance/movement and song.
Together we offer a range of initiatives that promote creativity, critical thinking, civic engagement and community cohesion. We also provide therapeutic services for individuals, families and communities impacted by exposure to acute stress and traumatic life events.
Our training branch offers workshops, seminars and professional training programs in psychodrama, applied theatre, psychotherapy and the performing arts. We also provide consultancy services, internships and research opportunities for students, scholars and practitioners.
Connect with Dawar on Facebook.
Jusoor is an NGO of Syrian expatriates supporting the country’s development and helping Syrian youth realize their potential through programs in the fields of education, career development, and global community engagement. As a community of Syrians living around the world working together to launch programs that benefit the Syrian community inside and outside Syria. We are committed to supporting the country’s development and drawing on the vast talents and experience of our global members to overcome the challenges the country faces.
Jusoor believes that youth in Syria should have access to profoundly better opportunities. In particular, we hope for a nation that embraces democracy, respects human rights and rule of law and encourages free speech and the exchange of ideas. We hope for a country that oﬀers its people high standards of living underpinned by a strong education system. And we hope for a country that promotes opportunity, in which every young woman and man grows up with hope and dreams for the future and ﬁnds opportunities within the country’s borders.
Connect with Jusoor on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube.
Luna Children's Charity
Luna runs training overseas to help local professionals treat children who are traumatised by war and violence. Once they are experienced we train these professionals to train others, and spread this expertise in their community.
The consequences of traumatic experiences can be overwhelming for children and lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Luna uses experienced mental health and education professionals from the UK and overseas as volunteers to lead our work. These volunteer trainers teach the Children’s Accelerated Trauma Technique (CATT) – a treatment that uses play and art therapy to reduce trauma symptoms, and supports children to take part again in family, school and community life.
Luna’s priority for 2018-19 is to continue to train people working with Syrian children in refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Our sustainable approach in another country – Uganda – means there are now 9 Ugandan trainers and nearly 100 trained CATT practitioners! Our costs here have reduced considerably as we no longer need to send UK trainers to Uganda in order to spread the skills needed to help children.
Palestinian Trauma Centre (PTC- Gaza)
PTC works hard to foster the sense of interdependence within the family and within society. It offers guidance and support in all areas of normal life, whether educational, psychological, economic, physical or intellectual. We believe that the collective health of the population can only be achieved through this holistic approach.
PTC has conducted scientific studies which conclude that most Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been subjected to trauma. 41% of children and their families are suffering from serious psychological disorders.
To deal with the huge extent of this problem, it has been necessary to work from a centre which was able to provide rapid professional support and health care followed by programmes of activities to enable the families to support themselves. It is hoped that this method of operation will spread from Gaza to the West Bank, and the Palestinian diaspora in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan.
Furthermore, the Centre wishes to expand the number of its units and to establish a specialised clinic for research and psychiatric care. There is also a project for the development of Psycho-social drama.
Refugee Connection is a London based grassroots charity founded in 2016 as a direct response to the limitations of mainstream integration models. Refugee Connection directly provides refugees, asylum seekers and migrants with access to mainstream society and an opportunity to experience meaningful integration. We break down barriers for people on the margins of society and diverge from orthodox integration programmes.
Underpinning all that we do at Refugee Connection is a holistic and multi-disciplinary approach to integration, acknowledging the requirement of combined casework and social support. We have three focus areas; (1) One-to-One Matching Project, (2) Open House, and (3) Advocacy and Casework Clinic.
Our aim is to build resilience and confidence within marginalised and isolated refugee communities and improve people’s overall physical and psychological wellbeing by fostering networks and authentic long-term friendships that will encourage organic integration.
SINGA aims to raise awareness of the question of asylum in host countries, and change society’s perception on refugees and their role roles in our communities. SINGA seeks to support refugees in their socio-economic integration through a project based methodology that empowers refugees to become actors of our society, as well as to create opportunities for dialogue and understanding between refugees and other members of society.
SINGA is above all a community of professionals, entrepreneurs, artists, athletes, dancers, singers, students… in short, a community of human beings who want to get to know and understand each other better and build a better society for themselves. The various SINGA programs aim to organize and facilitate opportunities to meet others in the SINGA community.
Refugee Resilience Collective
Refugee Resilience Collective is a team of experienced systemic narrative therapists and clinical psychologists, who are developing approaches to enhance resilience, capacity, coping strategies and skills of refugees, staff and volunteers in the Calais Camp. We work alongside other helping organisations in the camp, including Médecins du Monde, Médicins Sans Frontières and Art Refuge, to negotiate ways to most effectively meet the complex needs of refugees who have fled terrifying contexts, often experienced traumatic journeys, and are living in terrible circumstances, while hoping to make a transition to a safe home. We build on work carried out by the refugee team at the Tavistock Centre in London found to be helpful to unaccompanied minors and refugee families in the UK. Two members of the team are in the camp every Friday. We run a group to support young volunteers working intensively to keep the camp functioning. We are planning a resource based group for unaccompanied minors. We carry out family meetings with mothers concerned about their children, and run a group for women and children.
Dr. Rana Dajani, Ph.D. molecular cell biology, is a Harvard Radcliff fellow, a Fulbrighter, Eisenhower fellow, Associate Professor, former center of studies director, Hashemite University, Jordan, Yale and Cambridge visiting professor.
Dr. Dajani is the Jordan team leader with Yale University in studying refugee youth and the epigenetics of trauma across generations. She has developed a community-based model “We Love Reading” to encourage children to read for pleasure, which received the SynergosArab World Social Innovators Award 2009, WISE Award 2014, King Hussein Medal of Honor 2014, Star Award 2015, IDEO.org best refugee education program award 2015, and UNESCO International Literacy Prize 2017.
She has many accomplishments to her name. Dr. Rajani is a world expert on genetics of Circassian and Chechan populations in Jordan and has previously established stem cell research ethics law in the country. She is an advocate for biological evolution and Islam, speaker at McGill University and MIT. She is also a writer in Science and Nature. She has received a PEER award in 2014 for her work establishing a women’s mentor network and organised the first gender summit for the Arab world 2017. For her years in science and female empowerment, Dr Rajani was ranked one of the most influential female scientists in Islamic World in 2015 and was inducted in the Women in Science Hall of Fame that same year.
Dr. Amanda Lubit is a disaster anthropologist with her own consulting firm (Disaster Anthropology Consulting Group). She is also a professor of anthropology at George Washington University (Washington, DC, USA). As an anthropologist she has a broad scope that allows her to understand and address the complex multidimensional causes and consequences of disaster and forced displacement. She has undertaken work in a range of countries and disasters. She spent three years working to develop psychosocial programs for post-conflict Libya that address both psychosocial healing and conflict resolution. She also has experience in the United States focusing on violent extremism and mass casualty biological and chemical events, as well as psychosocial programming for vulnerable populations like the homeless and HIV/AIDS positive women. Currently she works in association with researchers at Portland State University (Portland, OR, USA) researching community resilience in Nepal following the 2015 earthquakes. Additionally, she leads a project to evaluate coping mechanisms and peacebuilding efforts in Lebanese communities hosting Syrian refugees. Through this work, she has collaborated with a wide range of partners locally, nationally and internationally, including government agencies (US and other), professional associations, universities, non-profit organizations and private groups.
Dr. Nisha Sajnani, PhD, RDT-BCT is Associate Professor and Program Director, Global Interdisciplinary Studies; Coordinator, Clinical Mental Health Counseling: Drama Therapy MA; and Advisor in the Expressive Therapies PhD program at Lesley University. She is also on faculty with New York University where she teaches Arts Based Research and with the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma where she lectures on the role of beauty in aftermath of violence and coordinates a network on the arts and displacement.
She is the Artistic Director of Theatre Beyond Borders which creates empathic encounters through scripted, improvised, and interactive theatre forms. From 2007-2014, she co-directed the Living Histories Ensemble which transformed the oral histories of survivors of genocide and human rights violations into performance to promote awareness, understanding, and social support. Other recent work includes "Under Pressure," an ethnodrama about the Boston Marathon bombing (2014), "Lives That Matter,"a documentary play on racism, identity, and hashtag activism (2015), and "Mapping Home: A Global Crisis of Place," a photography exhibit co-curated with Oscar Palacio (2016) that draws attention to the relationship between ecological and human sustainability
Professor Rachel Tribe is currently Professor of Applied Psychological Practice at the School of Psychology, University of East London. In 2014 she was awarded the British Psychological Society Award for Challenging Social Inequalities in Psychology. She is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society. She has over 30 years experience of developing clinical services and conducting research both in the UK and abroad. She is active in national and international consultancy and training work with a range of organisations including the Department of Health, Department of Education, Home Office, British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, British Psychological Society and the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Britain. She has also undertaken work in a range of countries for the British Council, International Committee of the Red Cross, MSF, Save the Children Fund, Transcultural Psychiatry Organisation ( TPO) and the Singapore Psychological Society among others, this is in addition to a range of governmental and non-governmental organisations in a variety of countries. She has experience of working in the private, public, charity and academic sectors.
She has published widely including work on diversity, migration and mental health, civic /community engagement, community psychology and social justice, professional and ethical practice, ageing and trauma. She was a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ expert panel on Improving Services for Refugees and Asylum-Seekers and the World Psychiatric Association’s Task Force on Migration and Mental Health. She has worked clinically with a range of diverse communities. Professor Tribe produced a DVD and guidance notes on working with interpreters in Mental Health for the Department of Health in 2011. Her latest book co-edited with Jean Morrissey is the 2nd edition of The Handbook of Professional and Ethical Practice for Psychologists, Psychotherapists and Counsellors, which was published in the summer of 2015.
Dr. Lewis Turner
Drawing the Times
Drawing is a primary visual language, essential for communication and expression. In our globalizing world, we communicate more and more in a visual way. Children learn to read and write, but little attention is being paid to visual literacy in school.
Drawing the Times wants to be a front runner in publishing non-fiction visual stories and convince its readers of the importance of visual literacy.We believe that graphic journalism has great potential. Visual language is universal. It can play an important role in connecting people who work in all kinds of disciplines worldwide, like artists, journalists, scientists, teachers, developers, decision-makers and many more.
Pamela J. Peters is an Indigenous multimedia documentarian born and raised on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. Her current multimedia project, Legacy of Exiled NDNZ began as a short film that has expanded into a full-length documentary along with an ongoing multimedia component about the history of American Indians living in Los Angeles. To date, she has spoken at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, UCLA, California State Polytechnic University, Pitzer College, Cal Arts, UC-San Diego, UC-Riverside, UC-Irvine, Occidental College, UC Berkeley and Northwestern University.
Pamela’s multimedia work reflects the perseverance of American Indian cultural identities today. She produces living portraits of American Indians reflected through an indigenous aesthetic lens. Additionally, she works as a culture consultant and native talent referral for many networks such as: FX, Comedy Central, HBO and MTV. She has also professionally produced five award winning films for the Southern California Indian Center’s InterTribal Entertainment multimedia program, co-created film workshops for Native youth, produced PSA’s for Fox Studio’s American Indian Summer Institute program, and co-hosted “Bringing the Circle Together,” a monthly showcase of Indigenous documentaries at the Japanese American National Museum National Center for Preservation of Democracy Tateuchi Forum in Los Angeles.
Sara Shamsavari is a British artist of Iranian heritage. Born in Tehran in the midst of the Iranian revolution, Sara overcame childhood cancer while she and her family fled persecution and were granted asylum in the UK. Her survival and upbringing in London has engendered a profound desire to make a difference through her artistic work.
Shamsavari’s works explore and celebrate global identity and transformation at a time of increased division, conflict and polarisation around the world. While each of her photographic series has a distinct focus, together, they all seek to encourage a deeper understanding of our nuances as human beings in contrast to the current popular narratives that misrepresent, malign and often succeed in dividing and ‘othering’ those in the minority- including the wide spectrum of people referred to as ‘immigrants’.
Her work has been exhibited internationally in galleries, museums, public and political spaces including the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago), Museum of African Diaspora (San Francisco) ICA, City Hall (London), Espace Pierre Cardin (Paris), Fondazione Biagiotti Progretto Arte (Florence) and Rush Arts Gallery (New York) . Her work, exhibitions and profile have been featured multiple times across various media and publications including BBC1, ITN, SKY1, New York Times, The Guardian, Huffington Post, Elle, i-D and Dazed & Confused.
In 2017 Sara's works show at the Lowe Museum of art (Miami) and The Provincial Centre for Plastic Art and Design (Havana) and as part of the Reinventions Exhibition in Lagos Nigeria. Her works are also published as part of the books Dandy Lion: The Black Dandy and Street Style (S. Lewis, Aperture) and Resignifications ( A. Ampka, Postcart).
Connect and explore more of Sara's work on her main site: Sara Shamsavari
A multi-media project profiling the spaces of the Indian reservation and Palestinian refugee camp: spaces of exception whose position in the struggle for native and Palestinian autonomy are essential. The Native and the Refugee will culminate in a feature-length documentary film.
Connect with The Native and the Refugee on Facebook
When the world talks about Palestinians living under occupation and in refugee camps, it is usually in terms of politics and numbers – specifically, how many killed, injured, homeless and/or dependent on aid.
But numbers are impersonal, and often numbing. What they don’t convey are the daily personal struggles and triumphs, the tears and the laughter, the aspirations that are so universal that if it weren’t for the context, they would immediately resonate with virtually everyone.
That’s why established and aspiring “word artists” from around the world have joined with youth in Gaza, and now, Lebanon, to create "We Are Not Numbers: We are individuals trying to change the world." Through this platform, we share and celebrate their stories, with experienced authors mentoring the youth.
Self-taught artist photographer for the last 25 years, my passion for travel, discovery, and learning about different cultures, my desire to document the realities that I witness since my childhood have been closely intertwined. Currently 46 years old, I have lived 34 years outside France, out of which 7 years in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2012, and following a trip back to the Congo, I decide to devote myself entirely to art photography (I was working for multinationals in Asia Pacific for over 20 years). Through my work I want to offer a different image of the Congo and Africa in general, and go beyond images of war which media tend to focus on.
For a complete biography, please refer to the section "News" of this website.
I am currently based between Hong Kong, Paris and Kinshasa.
In Arabic, kitabna means "our book". Since 2014, Kitabna has been writing, illustrating and publishing multi-lingual (Arabic-English / Kurdish-Arabic-English) children's books for children displaced by the sectarian violence in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey, Iraqi Kurdistan and Jordan.
Author Helen Patuck spent one year developing the project in Lebanon before moving on to the camps in France (Calais), Iraq and Jordan. Over 13,900 of Kitabna's books have been distributed to children in displacement now, including distribution with United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Save the Children International. In 2016 they were requested and deposited at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, the University of Cambridge Library, Trinity College, Dublin, and the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales.
The books are themed around life in refugee camps, and aim to create pride and dignity in the stigmatized displacement experience.
Border Crossings has created intercultural theatre to defend peace, justice, freedom of expression, gender equality and human rights since 1995. Our work effects transformations in people’s lives. We tackle difficult issues, challenging prejudices by providing engagement and education opportunities to communities who have been marginalised. Our professional theatre and community engagement work go hand in hand: the professional productions give exposure to stories that are rarely told, and our long lasting relationships with grassroots communities steer, inform and feed our artistic vision, which pushes for change and equality for all.
Chip Thomas, aka “jetsonorama” is a native of North Carolina. His life direction changed when he attended a small, alternative Quaker school in the mountains of North Carolina (the Arthur Morgan School). He is a photographer, public artist, activist and physician who has been working between Monument Valley and The Grand Canyon in the Navajo nation since 1987. He coordinates the Painted Desert Project – a community building effort which manifests as a constellation of murals across western Navajo Nation painted by artists from all over the world.
Thomas’ own public artwork consists of enlarged black and white photographs pasted on structures along the roadside on the Navajo nation. His motivation is to reflect back to the people in his community the love and elements of the culture they’ve shared with him over the years. He sees this work as an evolving dialogue with his community.
Thomas is a member of the Justseeds Artists Co-operative, an international co-operative of 30 socially engaged artists. You can find his large-scale photographs pasted in the northern Arizona desert, on the graphics of the Peoples Climate March, the National Geographic Blog, 350.org, the Huffington Post and elsewhere.
Hello Psychaleppo aka Samer Saem Eldahr
Hailing from one of the most mystical and musically rich cities in the Levant, Hello Psychaleppo is deeply rooted in oriental music tradition. He uses melodies of the Arab bedouin “Mawwals” and the ecstatic strains of tarab, and threads it through convoluted, industrial structures made from dubstep, drum & bass, electro and trip-hop.
He creates a journey away from boundaries of style, engaging souls into letting go while experiencing a new dimension of sonic blends.
Born in Damascus, Syria in 1980, Tammam Azzam received his artistic training from the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Damascus with a concentration in oil painting. Alongside a successful career as a painter in Syria, Azzam was a prolific graphic designer, an experience that would inform his digital media work after relocating to Dubai with the start of the country’s conflict.
Following the start of the uprising in Syria, Azzam turned to digital media and graphic art to create visual composites of the conflict that resonated with international viewers. These widely distributed works are informed by his interest in the interventionist potential of digital photography and street art as powerful and direct forms of protest that are difficult to suppress. In early 2013, Azzam made worldwide headlines when his Freedom Graffiti print went viral on social media.
Recently, he has returned to painting with Storeys, a series of monumental works on canvas that communicate the magnitude of devastation experienced across his native country through expressionist compositions of destroyed cityscapes. Chronicling the current state of his homeland, Azzam delves into a cathartic exercise of reconstruction, storey by storey. Alongside these new paintings, he has produced a significant body of giclée prints and installations that depict the facets of cities through similar themes.
Their Story is Our Story
Their Story is Our Story is a transmedia art organization based around giving voice to refugees and sharing their stories with the world.
We began as a group of artists and volunteers that wanted to raise awareness for the current refugee crisis. However, it has become clear that just raising awareness is not enough. We are a society that is hyper-aware of headlines bouncing off the page, the screen, into our minds and out again.
We have forgotten how to stop and listen, to understand, to have compassion. We are already aware of the Refugee Crisis. What we want to do is create a connection - a place for a conversation to begin. To give society a moment to stop and put themselves in another’s shoes, and treat the other as they would like to be treated.
Our goal is to help bridge the cultural, language, and political gaps between refugees and citizens in all nations. We hope to displace fear with compassion and misunderstanding with a commitment to help alleviate suffering.
Voices of the Children
We believe every child should have a platform for self-expression. All children should have access to resources that develop creativity and promote collaboration. Voices of the Children is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization based in the United States. We pair teens around the world in collaborative arts projects to shine a spotlight on humanitarian crisis, promote social advocacy and inspire positive change.
Our mission is to empower future generations to realize that a voice, when inspired from within and echoed by others, is a powerful agent to create change in the local and global community. Connections through the arts can tear down walls, encourage tolerance and foster cultural understanding.