Refugees set off to an unknown and unpredictable journey, and not everyone may adopt to these challenging circumstances quickly. Some refugee women may not know a foreign language, or may not integrate into their new societies easily. Under the Sisters Without Borders program, “personal development discussion series” project provides psychosocial support to refugee women. At bi-weekly webinars, professional mental health providers study various topics which are both requested by the refugee women and also suggested by the professionals.
Every week, mentors get together with the Turkish women refugees in Greece online and talk about their self-motivation, offer solutions for stress management and share methods to help their children to integrate into their host societies. While the expert is presenting, participants also have a chance to submit their individual questions and get replies in the Q&A Session. We also have a network of volunteer psychologists that we connect refugee women with in case they would like to get assistance in one-on-one as well.
All these communications are taking place over Zoom application where the presenter is briefing the group of refugee women. Through this discussion series, more refugee women got to know one another. It eventually became a way of socializing for them as well. In the beginning it was important for us to choose how we implement the project. We have installed the project via Zoom because it is so user friendly. Anyone with one link can easily join the gathering and ask questions. In some occasions, we even witnessed that women have started to meet in places together to join the discussions where the network is good enough.
These psychological support series were more targeted at self-motivation. We also recognized refugee women actually needed more resources to use their own professional backgrounds, skills and knowledge to benefit the new society that they live in. Many of them are in the transition period in Greece waiting for their family reunification applications to be finalized and get together with the rest of their families, usually in Germany, Canada or other European states. After the consultations with the refugee women in Greece, the Set Them Free board started the English and German language classes with the same format that we used in the psychological support series.