Polish-Azerbaijani aid project for veterans (PHOTO)

Society Materials 9 September 2022 15:56 (UTC +04:00)
Polish-Azerbaijani aid project for veterans (PHOTO)

On September 7, 2022, another training for people affected by the effects of hostilities was held in Baku, as part of the Polish-Azerbaijani project "We are here to help", implemented under the Polish development cooperation program - Polish Aid.

The ADRA Poland Foundation together with its partner ADRA Azerbaijan in 2021 launched the project "We are here to help" in Azerbaijan („Jesteśmy tu, by pomóc”), aimed at supporting the civilian population and people affected by the consequences of hostilities. The project includes, among others, rehabilitation, psychotherapy, training for staff, it even used the unusual atmosphere of the silver screen - all to help the beneficiaries to bid farewell to their war trauma. The second edition of the project, implemented with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland as part of the Polish development cooperation program Polish Aid, is still ongoing.

- War is one of the greatest tragedies that the human community can face. War trauma and dramatic events will be remembered for a long time by people affected by war trauma, civilians, and also those involved in helping the victims. They are the target group for the "We are here to help" program, explains Piotr Nowacki, president of the ADRA Poland Foundation.

The destructive effects of the conflict

Research shows that conflict situations cause greater mortality and disability than any serious illness. War destroys communities and families, and often disrupts the social and economic development of nations. The effects of war include long-term physical and mental damage to children and adults, and a reduction in material and human capital. One of the most common disorders that affects people involved in armed conflicts is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD for short). PTSD is a disorder whose symptoms appear as a result of an individual experiencing a traumatic event, an event involving a threat to life, serious damage to the body, or a threat to the physical integrity of oneself or others, accompanied by intense anxiety, helplessness or horror. It is worth mentioning that the post-traumatic stress disorder also applies to the family and relatives of those affected by the effects of hostilities.

Polish-Azerbaijani cooperation for the good of the population

The first module of the project was implemented in 2021. So far, the project participants, i.e. 250 people, have received rehabilitation services, which included activities such as: physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, behavioural therapy and cognitive therapy.

The participants spent a month in a selected rehabilitation centre, where ADRA Poland and ADRA Azerbaijan provided them with an individually selected set of therapies and the necessary support. The project also included a total of 12 trainings: training in the field of work with people affected by the consequences of hostilities for 25 members of the rehabilitation centre staff and training for 50 people affected by the consequences of hostilities in the field of dealing with physical injuries and trauma.

At the end of the project, a 3-day camp in Masalli was organized. 103 people affected by the effects of hostilities could, in the bosom of nature, by following a specially designed program of activities, educate themselves about a healthy lifestyle and work on returning to their mental balance.

Tell your story

The second edition of the ADRA Poland and ADRA Azerbaijan project is currently ongoing. War victims have already received training to improve their mental health and state of being. Consultations were conducted with specialists in the fields of clinical, family and child psychology.

One of the therapeutic methods used was "storytelling". Sharing practices and personal stories was intended to free from trauma, understand personal and collective identities and their roles, and exchange ideas and practices that participants could implement in their communities.

Another activity is therapeutic care, which was provided to 50 families who lost their relatives (wife, children, mother or father, brother, sister) and whose members had difficulty with accepting the loss, experiencing mourning and returning to normal life. The specialist of the ADRA Poland and ADRA Azerbaijan meets regularly with these people from the beginning of the year to the end of October, so that the families covered by the program have a chance to return to a fulfilled life. Meetings are held in Baku.

The silver screen also heals the trauma of war

The tenth muse - the unusual atmosphere of the silver screen, was also engaged by the creators of the project from ADRA in activities helping those suffering to go through the war trauma. The coming months will be marked by film shows (film therapy) and educational games about building peace. Film shows and games will be held at the Baku film club, the Abgora outdoor cinema in Shamakhi and national parks. Participants will watch films and take part in simulation games in which they will be given the role of a decision maker. The purpose of specially selected games is to broaden the participants' point of view, develop empathy and communication skills, and gain experience in resolving conflicts.

Since June, specialists have been visiting areas affected by the war to provide on-site support to people who have lost their loved ones. In turn, ADRA specialists visit the area of ​​Aghdam, Fizuli, Yevlakh, Aghjabadi and the city of Ganja for this purpose.

The project is co-financed by the Polish development cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland - Polish Aid.

Videos documenting the project on ADRA Azerbaijan channel: ADRA Azerbaijan - YouTube