Playing to Live! started out with such energy in 2015, that it has been essential that we take all that we have learned and make something even stronger, so 2016 has become our building year. Throughout the year we have been meeting and speaking with organizations nationally and internationally. Through these conversations we have gathered a deeper understanding of the needs of communities who are experiencing trauma and the programming needs of the organizations who serve them.
We are excited to announce that our executive director, Alexis Decosimo, will be flying to Uganda next week to speak with organizations working in South Sudanese refugee camps. According to the UNCHR the refugee crisis has reached the highest numbers on record. We have been gathering data on the psychological impact of displacement for children and families, and we have noted that in humanitarian/refugee settings the prevalence of PTSD is 15.4% and mood disorders are 17.3%, while in non humanitarian settings the rates are 7.6% and 5.3% (Tol et al, 2011). As clinicians and researchers we must wonder if the rates are actually higher due to the trauma of experiencing grief, being forced from home, and the fractures of community support.
The South Sudanese, which is the world's youngest country, has been experiencing war since 2013. According to CFR, since the war began over 50,000 people have died and 1.6 million people have been displaced due to the war. Uganda, which hosts some of the refugee camps, will be our entry into conversations about how our mission can support the refugee communities.
We have spent the last few months researching the needs and structures of a few of the refugee camps in Uganda. As with any community, we want to arrive with a foundational understanding of the community's needs and culture. It is imperative that we visit with the communities and organizations that serve them to further understand how Playing to Live! can build a program to support the healing recovery of their children.
We know as clinicians, researchers, and humans that cultural play, art, and expression can aid in the healing of trauma and war. We urge you to watch this video from New York Times, though this camp is not in Uganda nor will we be visiting it, this video shows the impact of war and the natural play that children engage in to their story.
We look forward to sharing our continued story with you
Reference: Tol, W. A., Barbui, C., Galappatti, A., Silove, D., Betancourt, T. S., Souza, R., … Van Ommeren, M. (2011). Mental health and psychosocial support in humanitarian settings: Linking practice and research. The Lancet, 378(9802), Tol, W. A., Barbui, C., Galappatti, A., Silove, D., Betancourt, T. S., Souza, R., … Van Ommeren, M. (2011). Mental health and psychosocial support in humanitarian settings: Linking practice and research. The Lancet, 378(9802),
Welcome to Our Blog!
We will be providing you with stories of the communities we support. The children and their caregivers featured in this blog have provided consent to share their art, pictures and stories.