IamResilience is a 10-week pilot project, which has recently been completed (June- September 2014) working with women and children living in a Syrian refugee camp in South Lebanon. This is a collaboration between Meryna and The Centre for Civic Engagement and Community Service (CCECS) at The American University of Beirut, Lebanon, as well as Lebanese youth group LoYAC.
Addressing all the children currently living in the camp, IamR ran creative-therapeutic workshops, which were strongly informed by Gestalt psychotherapy, to facilitate group process. The aim is to provide psychotherapeutic relief, develop perceptual learning and sensory awareness, to instigate a process of healing post-adversity. The approach is particularly influenced by Gestalt therapist, Violet Oaklander, who applies creative approaches to working with children and adolescents.
The women’s group is a weekly gathering for dialogue and discussion, with the intention of further developing the resilience of these survivors. IamR draws from the work and theories of psychoanalyst Renos Papadopoulos, who is also a consultant on this project, to encourage a wider understanding of responses to trauma, from the negative to the positive.
As a collaborative and process-led initiative, IamR further developments included a weekly crochet and knitting workshop for the women, and basic literacy skills for the children, who are not currently attending formal schooling.
The CCECS are urgently attending to an ever expanding number of Syrian refugees, particularly children. Their work has ranged from building temporary, ecologically sustainable housing, to clothes distribution. The American University of Beirut is a non-sectarian accredited institution of higher learning, established in 1866.