At Stone Soup we are happy to cowork with Boat Refugee Foundation. BRF assists and empowers people on the move or stuck in remote parts of Europe. Vicky, manager of the Athens program, talked to us about the ways the Netherlands-based NGO works.
BRF operates two programs in Greece. The one in Lesvos provides medical and psychosocial support. The one in Athens provides psychological support and group empowering activities to adult refugees & migrants, while it provides advocacy for a fairer asylum policy.
MOTIVATE, EMPOWER, INFORM, LINK
BRF’s goal is to motivate, empower, inform and link people on the move. The team consists of a psychologist, a social worker and a volunteer mental health professional. It offers various forms of psychosocial support, helping service users to take control of their lives and claim their rights.
IS IT TABOO TO ASK FOR ASSISTANCE?
“Many BRF beneficiaries who come from different cultures and backgrounds are not familiar with western terms like “mental health”. By pointing out the importance of self-care we try to destigmatize the seek for support. Therefore, we work together with the service users on the life skills and resources they could develop to cope with difficulties, to feel more empowered and to make the first steps towards personal recovery”
HELPING THE HELPERS!
We know that BRF trains members of other NGOs, since we’ve seen them organize training events in our offices. As Vicky explained, the aim is to introduce basic mental health and psychosocial concepts to also empower non-mental-health professionals operating in the field. In this light, we connect them with practices and resources that increase their awareness helping them approach relevant cases more effectively.
HOW DOES COWORKING HELP?
Although we have a private office, we feel part of a bigger community with a variety of professionals around us. As a result, we both decompress while we connect with people from completely different areas. Observing their work and problem-solving routines can be of great support to us. It offers new ways to approach decisions concerning your own work and see things from a different angle”.