Baylor College of Medicine

Ghata: Restorative Healing Environments for Migratory Populations Impacted by Trauma

Education services

Ghata, a portable multifunctional unit, assembled by refugees, are facilities which provide quality education, trainings for improved livelihoods, and trauma informed mental healthcare programs.

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Project Summary

In-access to basic rights, polarized political rhetoric, and traumatic experiences are three main factors that commonly intersect causing Shattered Resilience among migratory populations. With the aim to fortify refugees’ capacity for resilience our project Ghata is designed as a fulcrum to recalibrate the three forces, reducing the crippling tensions, and opening spaces of opportunity, mutuality, and hope. This holistic model strategically tackles these challenges by providing: (1) quality primary education to age groups 6-14, (2) digital skills for enhancing employability through online and virtual markets, and (3) trauma informed mental health care programs. Ghata(s) restorative environments, that have been successfully implemented in middle eastern refugee camps, will be scaled across vulnerable migratory communities globally. The structures are locally sourced materials and assembled by the community members it will serve. In addition to providing the in-person capacity building, we will use telehealth peer supervision, mitigate intergenerational trauma, and improve prognostic outcomes.

Problem Statement

Resilience as defined by Diane Davis is “the capacity of individuals to cope and adapt in the stress of chronic violence in ways that allow them room for maneuver and hope for the future”. This concept is shaken to its roots for refugees enduring protracted crises globally. In-access to basic rights, polarized political rhetoric, and traumatic experiences are three pervasive storms that converge and yield a “rogue wave” effect shattering refugees’ identities and resilience. According to UNHCR’s latest figures, 70.8 million is the number of refugees due to war, persecution, and conflict. This alarming figure is also “double the level recorded 20 years ago” with an average 37000 new displacements every day. Global warming is another factor that might force over 143 million people to migrate by 2050 in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America as estimated in a 2018 World Bank report. The holistic intervention of Ghata project that delivers quality education, enhances skills by offering virtual employment opportunities, and integrates medical and mental healthcare is the most influential model that ensures impactful resilience. Ghata is contextualized within refugees’ landscapes (tented settlements and/or collective shelters) and draws on the expertise of the targeted population. The portable structures are assembled by refugees using low cost locally found material which endures severe weather conditions and can last up to 15 years with minimal maintenance. The educational and health care services are also led by qualified experts from the same communities who receive ongoing capacity building from AUB, BCM, and HPRT.

Solution Overview

Ghata project integrates (a) quality/primary education, (b) transferable skills/online employment, and (c) trauma informed health programs within a holistic system that primarily builds on local resources so that information is disseminated rapidly and effect is made widely among refugee communities. These three components are sequentially designed to empower refugees and equip them with necessary services that allow them “room for maneuver and hope for the future”. A rigorous monitoring and evaluation system will be developed and executed to ensure project deliverables are achieved. For example, progress for primary education is measured by the number of students advancing to the next grade level as well as those who are bridged to secondary formal schooling in the host country; for transferable skills is measured by the number of students who secure job opportunities; and for mental healthcare the impact and outcome of capacity building and peer supervision.Every Ghata campus accommodates to an average capacity of 350 beneficiaries at once. Accordingly, total number of direct beneficiaries for primary education and digital skills will be 1050 (700 school aged children attending primary education in the first two shifts; 350 youth attending vocational training in the third shift). In addition to the 1050 direct beneficiaries, school staff, teachers and parents will receive health care/mental health services.The Ghata intervention impacts beneficiaries on two main levels: 1) equips local communities to lead and sustain operations during the crisis and after their safe return; and 2) influencing humanitarian agencies and policy makers to revisit relief architecture.

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Project Funders

  • Education Above All - Reach Out to Asia (ROTA) 2015 - 2019
  • UN-World Food Programme 2016 - 2019
  • Harvard Medical School CME 2005 - 2020

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