Supporting Students in Schools
Over 80 million families fled for their lives around the world, praying for safety and shelter, seeking refuge.
Due to the recent wars and conflicts, which took place in many countries in the world, many people were forced to leave their homes. And the refugees’ number keeps on growing by (44.000) daily.
Through the past few years, we in Bonyan have worked with families displaced by war, violence, poverty, conflict, and injustice that took place in several countries around the world.
Schools hold significant responsibilities towards refugee students and how they support these children.
In addition to the well-known support programs provided by charities and organizations in schools, which include;
- Financial support.
- School stationery.
- School uniforms.
- Providing mental and emotional health.
- Providing nutrition and health care.
Help Refugee Students with Mental Health Issues
Wars and conflict have the worst negative impact on people. It could last years and years to heal. And their biggest victims are the children.
Over a decade; children have witnessed and lived the horrors of war;
- Dilapidated streets
- Ruinous buildings
- Damaged neighborhoods
- The dead bodies scattered all around.
- The death of their family members and close friends.
- The showers of bombs of all kinds.
Surviving against all odds; Coldness, darkness, weakness, and homelessness.
Therefore, the most essential matter to start with is to provide a sense of security and belonging for the children, giving mental and emotional support, that can help in healing them from the fear they bear in mind, to help them be free from;
- Anxiety, stress, and grief.
- Depression, anger, and panic attacks.
In addition to many other feelings they have and lead them to interact with others in much of a normal way in which children normally act.
Mental Health Status of Refugee Children
The mental health of the refugee children is deeply affected by the horrors of wars through these recent years, causing serious issues to the children, like;
- Depression, grief, aggression, self-harm, and suicidal ideation.
- Anxiety, attention deficit, and refusal to learn.
- Mental disorders, which affect their learning abilities.
- Eating and sleeping disorders.
Losing one or both parents for a child is one of the most crises a child can ever come across, in addition to other problems such as; displacement, poverty, and poor-living-conditions, which are other big reasons for children to suffer from mental health issues, and go through some serious psychological crises.
Supporting Refugee Students with Special Educational Needs in Schools
Supporting refugee students with educational needs is not limited to providing schools with stationery, uniforms, and places to learn only. But to provide students with all the factors to help them learn.
A big number of refugee students are disabled due to the war. Some suffered injuries to their backs, which paralyzed some of their limbs. Others lost an arm or a leg because of the bombshells that hit them. And others lost their ability to hear due to the extremely devastating sounds of the bombing. In addition, thousands of children suffer from a lack of focus or ability to comprehend due to the severe trauma they have been exposed to.
Charities and organizations are taking everything into consideration; the educational programs for refugee students with special needs include providing as much support as possible to provide accessible, warm, and safe conditions for these children to learn and grow in good health.
In Bonyan, we have built a support system for children with special needs; working with other parties to fully provide; Medical support, Mental and emotional support, financial support.
Some of those aids are;
- Providing wheelchairs and prosthetics.
- Providing medical hearing aid devices for deaf students.
- Providing medical eyeglasses.
- Providing Braille books for blind students.
- Providing teaching cadres who are fluent in sign language for deaf students.
- Providing nutrition and health care.
- Providing educational activities for students.
As schools, a set of points need to be followed;
– Understand and recognize stressors.
– Understand the effect of trauma on school functioning.
– Equip staff to provide trauma-sensitive responses and support.
– Understand the challenges of relocation and acculturation.
– Be sensitive to family stressors.
– Identify children and youth who are at high risk and plan interventions.
– Understand cultural views regarding mental health.
– Engage and empower families.
– Focus on student strengths.
– Access community resources.
– Stop any harassment or bullying immediately.
As an individual, we can help immigrant students by donating for their school tuition, partially or wholly, to help them finish their education.
By providing financial support programs to fulfill all their needs, whether it’s school stationery, learning materials, or engaging educational and social activities.
Create a support network, give your students opportunities for success by walking them through the learning process, keep things simple and keep your classroom organized. And always remember; “Each child is a unique individual”.
In addition to providing medical aid such; as medical materials and devices, along with continuance mental and emotional support, there are the following techniques to enhance the performance of the children;
– Form small groups.
– Create classroom centers.
– Blend ‘the Basics’ with more specialized instruction.
– Rotate lessons.
– Try thematic instruction.
– Provide different levels of books and materials.
Additional learning support means giving children extra help or support so they can get the most out of their education.
To be sensitive and aware of their needs and be supportive along their learning journey.
Mental and emotional trauma affects children deeply, and it takes a long time for them to heal.
It affects their level of concentration, thus their school performance. Therefore, treating children who have been exposed to trauma, will help them to improve their absorptive and awareness capacity, and help them in their school performance and their ability to fast learning.
As teaching staff; by supporting them emotionally and mentally through the process of education.
As charities and organizations, by providing a comfortable and safe environment for them to learn, and give them all the support we can; financially, medically, and emotionally.
By providing a sense of belonging, a safe, secure environment for them to learn, and by providing emotional, and educational support whenever needed, keeping in mind the normal outcomes of trauma, which children were exposed to, which causes effects such as; lack of focus and lack ability of comprehension.
By providing equal educational rights and opportunities to all immigrant and refugee students, regardless of immigration status, and adopting practices to ensure students are not bullied because of their immigration status.
Refugee children were exposed to a tremendous amount of trauma, and serious psychological crises, which affected their ability to focus and learn. Therefore, the education process is not like any other when the students are refugee students.
There are serious mental health issues the refugee children are suffering from, like;
1. Losing one or both parents is one of the significant crises a child can ever encounter.
2. Depression, grief, aggression, self-harm, and suicidal ideation.
3. Anxiety, attention deficit, and refusal to learn.
4. Mental disorders affect their learning abilities.
5. Eating and sleeping disorders.