Blog from Anne-Marie
Sorry for the radio silence – unfortunately we have had no internet for a while – that’s Africa for you!!
What can I say about our EFA group apart from AWESOME!!!!
We have a real selection of people on this training – we have…
The Chief Warden from the Women’s prison where they have young woman as young as 15
2 counsellors who work for the young people through the local hospital
3 Play Kenya local staff who work in the community with girls who have been raped, street boys, children on remand and orphans
A main carer at ‘Welcome to the family’ a home for girls who have been raped and rejected from their families
Social Worker at a local orphanage
Nurse and carer from a local run orphanage
Project officer for a street boys rehabilitation centre
Proprietor of an orphanage
We are half way through the training and the impact has been outstanding in so many ways! They had NO idea what to expect and could not get their head around the term ‘Emotional First Aid’. Many of these front line staff had no idea about OCD, Anorexia or Bulimia and yet when we showed the videos of the young people they realised that many of their YP had these conditions but they thought they had mental health issues or were being defiant. To see and hear the change in their attitudes is humbling.
I think the group work is brilliant – we are lucky enough to have 2 Play Kenya volunteers who work in units for YP with anorexia and we have them sitting in each group. Traditionally Kenyan people don’t join in with discussions or group work (fear of failing is huge here) so by having these women in the groups it has had such a positive impact – some great discussions and some quality learning going on!
I think the most poignant moment so far has to be the exercise of being 15 – these people have experiences in life that many of us cannot even imagine – 15 was not a good time for this group. We had feed back of being beaten and so much worse and yet they ALL said they had never tried to stand in the shoes of the YP they are working with and what an impact it had on how they are now relating to those YP. It truly has been life changing.
One of the feedback that keeps coming through is – what now!! They are all so passionate and moved by what they are learning they have set up a monthly meeting to discuss how things are going with their YP – and they want more local staff trained!!! I don’t think I imagined just how well this training would be received!
I think the saddest thing that has come out is the lack of support for YP with emotional difficulties. There is nothing even remotely like the support at home. If a child has signs of depression or any mental health issues they are locked away as it brings shame on the family. VERY VERY few have any support at all. The English contingency where often in or close to tears to hear about the stigma attached to these vulnerable YP. They have a national child-line but the YP don’t have access to the details! It really is a third world country but there are those who are trying to make a difference. They want us to go to see the Education Minister to talk about some of the things we are covering on this training and attachment difficulties and to address a national teachers conference – big big stuff!
I am attaching some photos and will send another e-mail in a couple of days – we have our next session on Friday and I can’t wait to see how things are going
A million thanks for allowing and supporting this training – a real real impact here in Kenya!!!