The civil war in CAR has pushed thousands of people to take refuge in Chad. Among them are many victims of torture and war-related trauma who are living in the refugees camps with no basic social insurance, in extremely poor material conditions, suffering from significant health and psychosocial problems and do not know what kind of assistance they can receive in Chad and at AJPNV. This led to the idea by AJPNV staff to organize a mobile team consisting of a psychologist, social worker, lawyer, doctor and driver that go directly to clients and provide services in the field.
Before creating the mobile team programmes, we collected information on the experiences and capacities of the refugees and what types of assistance they considered most useful. This was done through personal contact with refugees and cooperation with local trustees of the Commissariat for Refugees and humanitarian organizations such UNCHR, CICR, Chadian Red Cross and refugee community leaders. Psychosocial support can be a group or individual counseling session and follows psychological assessment of clients using The Harvard Trauma Questionnaire. Medical support follows a medical consultation, examination, diagnostics and sometimes we do referrals to specialist clinics, with AJPNV covering consultation fees. Legal services are provides by our lawyer who orients clients and advises on what to do. Despite the activities being well planned, the team faces problems which impact negatively on their work, including poor technical condition, lack of space, technical impossibility of drafting legal documents requested by the client, lack of laptops and electricity. Monitoring and evaluation is conducted and has helped to develop a long-term plan which includes a strategy of complete scale of intervention for the most adequate assistance. For instance, this has helped us to notice which types of psychotherapy are most effective in concrete circumstances.
Group psychotherapy work has proven to be fully justified and most appropriate in working with clients who are assessed to be ready for psychological work in the field, for this reason, it was applied continually over a longer period of time. As a result of this the client began to set themselves realistic and achievable aims and develop future life plans. This has influenced the development of the sense of meaning in their lives, the lack of which was a part of the typical symptomatology. The needs of clients have influenced the work activities in the field; we have noted that the most frequent problems of clients are the precarious material situation and living condition. This motivated us to work with other humanitarian agencies in order to ensure necessary assistance in terms of food and hygiene parcels.
Funding & No Conflicts Declaration
This work has been done thanks to IRCT OAK grants and AJPNV member's contributions. We declare no conflicts of interest.