“You give us hope!” – Traumatised Syrian refugee children receive psychosocial support from RED NOSES International

RED NOSES International cares about the needs of children all over the world.  For this reason, Monica Culen and Gary Edwards accepted an invitation to hold speeches at an international congress in Amman, Jordan.  During their stay they also visited a Syrian refugee camp to convey the much needed and very essential psychosocial support to traumatised children.

By invitation of the Childhood International Center for Early Learning & Development (CICELD) in Jordan, Monica Culen and Gary Edwards delivered keynote speeches on the development of children and spoke about the successful RED NOSES project in Palestine, which is the first professional clown doctor organisation in the Arab region.

Monica Culen and Gary Edwards also discussed the importance of humour as a resilience factor and how the RED NOSES programmes strengthen people and help them cope not only with illness and disabilities, but also provide comfort and empowerment for those in miserable and traumatic situations.

A further target of the visit was to evaluate having a RED NOSES “Emergency Smile” intervention in a Syrian refugee camp and the sustainable implementation of the RED NOSES idea specifically for traumatised children. Since Jordan can only provide basic services in the present dramatic situation, the demand for psychosocial support is now very high.

Save the Children Jordan also invited RNI to visit the Emirati-Jordanian Camp located roughly 80 kilometres away from Amman. There they were able to cheer up about 400 refugee children with a clown doctor round. Gary Edwards and his colleague from Palestine, Tarek Zboun, slipped on their clown costumes and within minutes were able to conjure up a happy and colourful atmosphere in the camp.

“You gave us hope!”  The school administration rejoiced about the effects of the humour-laden intervention. After a very long and dreary period of time, the refugee children could finally be children again. The monotonous daily routine of waiting was now enriched with joy and a world of fantasy and creativity.

“It’s really only a drop on a hot stone when you look at the millions of refugee children,” Monica Culen remarked regrettably. “I’m therefore all the more encouraged to provide sustainable support here with my RED NOSES team. There is total chaos in the region due to large numbers of refugees. The system is overburdened.  Psychosocial support, also from RED NOSES, is very important to heal psychological and emotional wounds in order to regain hope for the future.”

In preparation for effective “Emergency Smile” interventions as of autumn 2014, RED NOSES must first gain local support right from the beginning. After many discussions with the Jordanian Ministry of Health, Ministry of Culture, the Queen Rania Foundation, and prominent international humanitarian aid organisations like Save the Children Jordan and World Vision, who are all on location in the refugee camps, RED NOSES has successfully managed to consolidate its network there.


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