Dawn in Syria: professional training, mediation and reconciliation













Beneficiaries: Refugees community in Atma Camp, children victims of war in Siria, local comunity in syrian territory, local comunity in turkish territory

Cities / Regions involved: Syria

Period: January 2015 - ongoing

Source of funding: Region Friuli Venezia Giulia

Total cost: 40.000 euros

Project status: ongoing

Due to the tragic and continuous battles in the north-west of Syria, thousands of families moved to the Atma area, which is close to the Turkish crossing border at Bab Al-Hawa. Atma represents the biggest refugee camp of the area and by now it hosts about 15.000 people, that’s also why many Syrians preferred to go to Turkey, in several towns, like Gaziantep and Reyhanli. The situation of refugee women is very delicate. Most of them are widows with dependent children and need a psycho-social support for war traumas and also a specific professional training and literacy courses in order to become independent in their livelihoods and in that of their families in their new living environment. The information about the origins of these people are very few. Hardships and violence suffered by children in Syria, a part from death, are: evacuations, abuses, lack of education and of spaces for playing, malnutrition and disease. All of this contributes to the worsening of depression and post traumatic disorders (PTSD stress) in the youngest. Of the 9 million Syrians displaced persons and refugees 3 million are children (NPR October 2013). Since the beginning of the conflict, mora than 4000 schools have been transformed in shelters and warehouses for storage of humanitarian aid. According to UNICEF, 2.8 million children abandoned school (UNICEF: Infographic: Syrian Children Under Siege, March 2014). Some neighbouring countries, such as Turkey, created classes that welcome also children fleeing from the conflict and now living there. The difficulties raised by teachers and administrations are deep, cause mostly by the classes overcrowding (more than 40 children for each class) and by the behavioural disorders in those children coming from war experiences. 3 out of 4 children who have reached Turkey, lost at least one parent. More than 8.000 children fled in other countries by themselves. Their experience makes them exponentially more at risk of becoming part of criminal organizations

Or of expressing their traumas with violent and conflicting attitudes. That’s why it is so important to promptly intervene for the treatment of PTSD, by training a competent staff, able to relate to the victims of a complex problem, rose in a context connected to extraordinary events. Nowadays, the main helps coming from ONG and other bodies are essentially emergency response activities, based of primal needs, but with an almost total lack of activities aiming to children’s psychological recovery, which is essential if we don’t want an entire generation to be completely exposed to further risks of delinquency and marginalization. Furthermore, precarious social conditions and the psychological fragility caused by the war make the civilians

victims of manipulation and blackmail. In a war context, characterized by the presence of opposing factions and deeply divergent interests, but also in the shelters and refugee camps, it is of crucial importance to have some figures as mediators and facilitators who have diplomatic skills and can manage complex situations, from daily context up to the highest levels of social and politic relationships. Who negotiates must

know not only the cultures of related parties but also laws and social rules. Also in this case, the project developed a training activity which could provide the basic tools for relations and conflicts management, keeping in mind that in a community such as the Syrian one in Turkey, one must know and remember the costumes both of the place of origin and the place of arrival of people, the Turkish law, the Syrian one, Islamic law regulations and the mandatory international standards. So it is clear how important it is to train people, in these communities, who can operate in the field of mediation, both by targeted courses and RPGs, people who will be able to became crucial representatives and core figures in the peace and reconstruction process.



Aurora in Syria project developed some training courses focusing on the Syrian refugees community in Atma Camp (Syria) and in Gaziantep and Reyhanli (south-western Turkey, close to the Syrian border). The activities took place in Al Bayti orphanage in Reyhanli, run by Maram Foundation and hosting about 60 children (orphans or fatherless) and represents a meeting place for the mothers of the kids and other woman, mostly widows. Different courses have been realized, both for trainers and directly for women.

The activities and their beneficiaries are the following:
A training courses for trainers in the fields of Mediation, Political negotiation, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), tailoring and handcraft knitting
Professional training in tailoring and knitting for 150 refugee woman of Atma's refugee camp, between 15 and 50 years old, with or without previous experience in the field (specifically: widows in charge of the family, abused women, illiterate women and women with disabilities).
Trainings in the field of mediation and political negotiation for 20 doctors, paramedics and educators for basic mediation techniques and for 20 doctors or educators chosen as possible political negotiators between the conflicting parties.
Psychological training in PTSD for 10 doctors, 10 educators and 10 psychologist.
The goal was to develop, thanks to the trained subjects, an action on the whole community, so on the indirect beneficiaries:
Refugees of the Idlib area
Women and children victim of the war in Syria
The local communities in the Syrian territory and the local communities in the Turkish territory mentioned above.
Specific objectives:
Traings in microenterprise for women
Acquisition of social, organizational and professional skill, favouring the launch of income generating activities by those women involved in the project.
Professional development for start-ups and inclusion in local companies.
Training in the field of PTSD
Improvement of the healt-care and social-care staff’s skills to cure and psychological rehabilitate the minors victims of the traumas caused by the conflict.
Training in conflict mediation
Promotion of the direct involvement of local communities in activities of mediation and reconciliation



Activity 1
Selection of personnel to train the beneficiaries. The trainers have been chosen together with Maram Foundation among local experts in the different fields of the project. To choose them, the Department of Life Sciences (Psychology Unit) of the University of Trieste, also used psychometric tools to measure the orientation towards religion and the dysfunctional states of mood of the candidates. The selected candidates followed some seminaries held by international experts and @uxilia’s and Maram’s experts.
The collection of these data showed a high level of education among young people in the region. The selection was made taking into account the scores obtained in the two tests, about religion and mood, and the candidates who did not obtain high results in the test about orientation towards religion and who had average scores in the other test were privileged.
20 tests were distributed
4 local trainers were selected (2 women and 2 man)
Employment of refugees in the area as trainers for training courses
Increase of the activity of local collaborators
Activity 2
Selection of women, trainers and medical staff who benefited from the courses listed above. The users have been found thanks to Maram Foundation’s database.
50 people involved in the selections.
30 people invited to the training.
Activity 3
Planning and organization of training courses
preparation of the location in Al Beyti orphanage in Reyhanli, were the courses took place. The choice of the location had been due to following reasons:
Area with a high concentration of refugees
Possibility of training in the orphanage structure
The location chosen encouraged the easy access of participants. Also operators of regional facilities that treat PTSD were involved. In the region there are few initiatives of this kind. The orphanage children were indirect beneficiaries because they were involved in some training activities and the goods that had been purchased for the courses were then left to the orphanage disposal.
Activity 4
Training courses managed and taught  by trainers and PhD students of Trieste University, who collaborated to the training of health workers about PTDS and to the training of other specific operators about psychological aspects of mediation and negotiation processes.
The team of experts gave its contribution and expressed opinions about possible implementations or revisions of the main textbooks (about PTSD, Negotiation, Mediation…) created by international agencies.
A lot of space was given to the use of ICT, both in the preliminary phase and in the project implementation, for example whit the use of multimedia platforms, cloud storage softwares and “on line training” FAD – Skype.
The training courses showed a great need of refresher courses for the refugees of the area.
Collection of evidence relating to refugee children in the region.
Collection of evidence relating to the status of women in the region.
Activity 5
Tailoring course
Purchase of tools and materials
Training about: creating base patterns, transformation of patterns, placement on cloth for cuts, creation of a prototype, ironing techniques, control and finishing the garment, creation of the complete garment.
Knitting course
Purchase of tools and materials
training about: knitting needles characteristics and use, processing techniques, creation of a scarf.
“Female Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice” course
Training about: basics for the development of a craft business, information about financial management, The concept of craftsmanship and social cooperative atelier, presentation of the business activities in the region, case study of a business start-up, organization of a trade fair for the crafts that had been realized.
Independent production of knitwear and tailoring products. Creation of 4 new women's community centers in Syria.
Activation of small forms of trade linked to these craft activities that guarantee
income generation
Demonstrations of traditional crafts from the Regional project in local Italian contexts (ex.: Christmas market in Trieste)
Organization of an exhibition at the orphanage Al Bayti of Reyhanli on the occasion of Women's Day on the 8th of March 2016.
Activity 6
Training of educators, doctors, paramedics and psychologists
Theoretical training:
Basics of child psychology
Psychological treatment of post-war trauma
psychological treatment of children with major amputations
Psychological treatment of women who have suffered violence
Importance of extracurricular activities for children
Contact techniques and simulations of talk-sessions with women who have suffered violence
The importance of being included in a group to overcome the trauma: the exemple of Atma’s women's center
Practical training
Practical lessons in contact with the children of the orphanage of Reyhanli
The original goal (improving the healt and social workers skills in the treatment of the minors victim of the war) was reached with the application, in the orphanage and  in psychological support centres, of the techniques learned during the courses. There was an improvement in the psychological condition of the children of the orphanage and of Al Nour centre managed by Maram Foundation. 0 course participants have been included in psychological support activities in facilities in the region
Activity 7
Training course in mediation / conciliation
Identification and involvement of civil society representatives to be trained and to whom an important role in the community was going to be recognized 
Recollection of the “good practices” of mediation already existing in the local community
Detailed planning activity, based on academic studies and integrated with the “good practices” above
Implementation of structured training activities in the field of negotiation and addressed to the selected physicians and educators. Theorical lessons, RPG, basics of law.
During these activities the students also had to write short texts (as letters) in Arabic and/or English, with a suitable style for the seek of agreements.
mentoring activities and verification of the results to be evaluated together with the local community
Improvement of relations within civil society. Greater responsibility of women in business administration
The implementation of training courses and the opening of a tailoring workshop produced an improvement of socio-economic conditions of the area, thanks, most of all, to the active involvement of women, whose personal growth was encouraged and whose quality of life was improved. The direct management of the profits arising from the micro-entrepreneurship activity permitted the launch of the first bases of independent economic activities. The experience of the training courses has found great interest in the international community by providing a winning formula for women empowerment of women and the search for new funding.



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