Trauma group for refugee children – 20 June 2014

Hamburg’s shelters for refugees from countries where there is civil war or other hardship are full. Refugee children sometimes come to us unaccompanied to escape recruitment as soldiers, forced marriage or prostitution. What they all have in common is the lack of future prospects in their countries. Once they have made their way to us, they have usually already survived many heavy burdens, at least physically.

Mental wounds, which are to be assumed with a high probability as consequences of such serious experiences, often remain untreated.

More than 150 refugees currently live in the central reception facility on Sportallee 70 for up to three months. In the meantime, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees decides on the asylum application. After three months at the latest, the refugees, whose proceedings have not yet been completed, will move to another place of residence in the Hamburg city area.

There are now many good experiences in strengthening and supporting traumatised people. On the initiative of Pastor Joachim Tröstler, the youth welfare organisation Selbst & Sicher e.V. offers refugee children and young people in the Sportallee a traumatic educational programme that aims above all to stabilise them emotionally. The professionally trained staff (a trauma pedagogue, a trauma therapist) set out with the children to search with them for inner places of well-being, which every child can approach at any time. It can explore possibilities to get rid of inner tension or create unique ‘power animals’ as good companions for everyday life.