South Sudan

IDPs in Bentiu trained to help traumatized people

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9 May 2014 - To deal with an increasing number of traumatized people seeking shelter at the UNMISS base in the Unity State capital Bentiu, 32 of the displaced today received training in “psychological first aid”.

“There are so many traumatized people here and we cannot reach all of them,” said UNICEF emergency specialist and course facilitator Wayne Bleier. “It is important to train people who have contact with the rest of the population.”

The course, intended to deal with trauma, is based on a model that teaches participants how to respond to distressed people around them.

Mr. Bleier said the one-day training was interactive and practical, with disaster simulations to help participants better understand the method. “I hope that they will be familiar with the method, and they are able to use it. The whole idea is to help others.”

Community leaders and volunteers from non-governmental organizations who attended the training described it as “very important, saying they hoped to use their newly acquired skills in assisting displaced people.

“This workshop empowers me to do my job better and to help other women,” said Tabita Carlo, who works with the International Rescue Committee to support victims of domestic and sexual based violence.

Non-violent Peace Force volunteer and social worker Yohanes Chan said the course would help him deal with his own situation, as well as other people suffering from trauma.

“I work and interact a lot with the community and I know the level of trauma here [in the camp] is high because of the war,” said Mr. Chan. “We need this training to help our people.”