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Compassion In Kenya


Compassion CBO

Compassion CBO, was formed to eradicate poverty through education and sustainable development among women living in the slums and rural areas of Kenya and to rehabilitate orphans and vulnerable children.

Survivors In DR Congo



COFAPRI is registered in Bukavu in the eastern Democratic Rupublic of Congo The organisation empowers women through encouraging income-generating activities such as the rearing of livestock.

Grassroots News

Safe World Field Partner, work directly with issues such as poverty, health-care, marginalisation, FGM, child marriage, and education.

Asha Leresh

How Asha Survived the Unnecessary Cut

Asha’s luck came when Samuel Siriria Leadismo, the Director of Pastoralist Child Foundation and his team visited her village, creating awareness about female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual reproductive health....

Washing Hands to Improve Health in Rural DR Congo

COFAPRI organised handwashing sessions for school children and mothers in rural villages, with the aid of educational DVDs kindly supplied by Thare Machi Education. The word has begun to spread as neighbours are now prompting each other to wash their hands.
Safe Spaces

Safe Spaces Crucial for Women's Self-Reliance in Rural DR Congo

Increased security helps women become self-reliant and less financially dependent on their husbands. This improves the situation for the whole family and also means the women are less vulnerable to abuse.
Towards womens empowerment

DR Congo: Men's Inclusion in Women's Empowerment Benefits Everyone

It remains very important within communities for men and boys to be educated regarding the rights of women and girls, including their proper, fair and respectful treatment. When the women and girls become empowered, it is the whole community that benefits.
Margaret from Kiambu Support Group

Nairobi cancer survivor has hope at last

Margaret is among many women Compassion CBO trained in 2015. She has survived breast Cancer 2 times.

New Womens Magazine for Cameroon

The first edition of the Women for a Change Magazine is now available.

News, Interviews and Blogs

Under-reported issues affecting women and children. Exclusive interviews, articles and blogs by Safe World Correspondents and Content Partners

Compensation Claims Board 2

The Need for Victim Compensation Programmes - Pakistan and Globally

Globally, victim compensation programmes play a significant role in providing assistance to the victims of violence... however, in Pakistan we are lacking any such programme. It is high time to take serious note of the issue and develop a strong referral…
Lizzy and Victoria

Peace, Dialogue & the Ripple Effect: #RISING16 Global Peace Forum

Perhaps the most inspiring session for me came towards the end of the two days and was entitled ‘Bring back our girls – the forgotten victims of conflict’... We heard the CEO of International Alert, Harriet Lamb, and Victoria Nyanjura - who was kidnapped by…
Olutosin 2

Olutosin Adebowale: To America With Love

Once upon a time in my country, Nigeria, there was a ruler who was dreaded by many... We resisted and said No to every oppressive action or word to any weak or voiceless Nigerian... This is the time to stand firm on what has held the world together - Love.
Berlyne Ngwalem Ngwentah

Berlyne Ngwentah: 'The Biggest Cheerleaders of Women are Women'

All the most prominent, biggest community and feminist movements to alleviate the sufferings of women and girls and support women’s involvement in education and leadership have been championed mostly by women...
Jen 9

Promoting Misogyny, Zenophobia, and Bullying... is.... Nasty

I cannot ever vote for anyone who promotes misogyny, racism, Islamophobia, zenophobia, homophobia... It would be a mockery of my life... dishonoring my elders who have endured the many injustices of racial animosity, my friends who've experienced the same...
Women united

Women United for a Better Community in High Andean of Peru

“Women United for a Better Community” is a new group of grassroots women in the Ayacucho Region at the South High Andean of Peru, recently created by Estrategia, a National Grassroots women's organization. The grassroots women require to be heard and get the…

kids in palestine

Over half of mental health patients in Gaza are under 12, says MSF

The number of children with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other anxiety disorders including depression has increased in the occupied Palestinian territory where conflict continues with Israel, according to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Palestinian NGOs specializing in mental health.

Violations against Palestinian children related to the armed conflict between Israelis and Palestinians have been documented by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Jerusalem, including patterns of killing and injuries, arrest and detention, ill-treatment and torture, displacement and denial of access to health and education services.

Children are doubly affected, sometimes by multiple traumatic events and by the effects of the trauma on their parents and care-givers.

Fifty-four percent of mental health patients in Gaza are under 12

MSF recently increased its number of clinics and staff training in developmental psychology to meet the growing needs of Palestinian children. Fifty-four percent of mental health patients at MSF clinics in the Gaza Strip were under 12 in 2010, it said. Over a third of the cases MSF treats in Gaza and over half in Nablus in the West Bank are severe, and affect the functioning of a person in daily life.

“More than half of consultations in Gaza and in Nablus are for children under 18 years old, so far in 2011,” said Hélène Thomas, psychological coordinator at MSF-France in Jerusalem.

“Children and adolescents have particular symptoms of psychological distress, like bedwetting, nightmares, learning difficulties [reading and speech], concentration and memory problems and therefore academic failure, or even aggressive behaviour,” said Thomas.

MSF provided 6,099 psychological consultations and treated 702 new patients in 2010 at their six centres in Gaza and one in Nablus, compared to 4,912 consultations in 2009.

“Nearly half of MSF patients under 15 years old in Gaza were treated for PTSD and nearly a third were treated for other anxiety disorders in 2010,” said Thomas, and “about a fifth of patients under 15 years old in Nablus were treated for PTSD.”

In Gaza, 74 percent of cases in 2010 came one year after a violent event. In Nablus a high level of anxiety cases (over 40 percent of all MSF patients) are diagnosed with anxiety related to settler harassment and military incursions.

“Children form an emotional association with symbols of a traumatic event,” said Thomas, “like when Israeli soldiers raid a home with dogs, and after the child develops a phobia of dogs, linking dogs to the event and fear associated with it.”

Mental health professionals from the Palestinian NGO Treatment and Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (TRC), which provides comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation services to survivors of torture and organized violence across the West Bank, also reports that children seeking mental health care overwhelmingly suffer from PTSD and other anxiety disorders.

TRC treated 3,800 patients across the West Bank in 2010, about 15 percent of them children, and is partnered with Palestinian NGO Gaza Community Mental Health Programme in Gaza (GCMHP).

EMDR therapy

The TRC’s team of 36 psychologists and six psychiatrists say a popular form of psychotherapy - eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), developed in the USA in 1987 - is proving successful in the Center’s treatment of children.

EMDR, often used in conjunction with cognitive therapy, creates bilateral stimulation (induced by, for example, eye-movements, tones or tapping) between the right and left sides of the brain during sessions to resolve the development of trauma-related disorders caused by exposure to distressing events, such as rape or military combat.

According to EMDR founder Francine Shapiro, when a traumatic experience occurs, it may overwhelm usual cognitive and neurological coping mechanisms. The memory and associated stimuli of the event are inadequately processed and dysfunctionally stored.

Psychologists from TRC and the East Jerusalem YMCA travelled to California in May to begin certification in EMDR training with Francine Shapiro. In about a year’s time TRC will begin to train Palestinian mental health professionals in EMDR techniques.

EMDR therapy aims to process these distressing memories, reduce their lingering influence and enable clients to develop coping mechanisms, says Khader Rasras, TRC executive director and clinical psychologist.

“I ask the child to recall the memories of the traumatic event in their minds, or for younger children the parent may recall the event,” explains Rasras, and “while reviewing the events chronologically the child follows my back-and-forth finger movements with their eyes.”


After Lina, eight-years old from Ramallah, witnessed her father forcibly removed by Israeli soldiers from the family home about a year ago she was diagnosed with acute PTSD. He remains in administrative detention, imprisoned without charge or trial.

Soldiers kicked in the door and began searching, recalls Lina, and when my father put his hands behind his head I held on to his leg. A soldier pulled me away by my hair, she says.

After Lina developed a stuttering problem, bed-wetting and lost weight, her mother brought her to TRC.

“Lina responds well when I tap on her right and left knees,” says Rasras. “EMDR is well suited for children since it is interactive, often with hand-games and drawing, and children do not have sophisticated memory networks."

Barriers to mental healthcare

Mental health professionals from GCMHP have yet to be granted permission by the Israeli authorities to exit Gaza for training. Under more than four-years of strict blockade, Gaza health professionals are rarely allowed to leave Gaza for training or education.

Cultural sensitivities are also a barrier to mental health care, although MSF reports that it is easier for parents to bring children for treatment, and often seek treatment themselves after they see results.

TRC head Rasras says he offers to place a barrier between himself and female patients, such as a handkerchief, when taping their hands or shoulders to help patients feel comfortable. Even then, the social stigma of mental health care in West Bank rural areas is often too great for many patients to continue treatment.