“We had started to create a programme that was directly targeting children and their parents by giving them psychosocial support,” explained Çağrı Hürmüzlü, Program and Grants Director at Maya Vakfi.
“That meant doing group sessions and individual therapy sessions for children who needed closer attention – but also positive parenting training sessions.
“We realised the Syrian children were going to school but the Turkish education system didn’t have the capacity to identify kids who had been through traumatic experiences.
“Even if they did identify them, they didn’t know any positive classroom techniques – they didn’t know how to refer them or interact with them.”
Out of that realisation came the Trauma-Informed Schools programme. It was designed to train teachers how to identify children in the classroom who had suffered traumatic experiences and were showing anger, not doing their studies well or not participating like the other students.
“Once you do identify them, teachers can interact with these children in the classroom setting or one-on-one,” said Hürmüzlü.
“The training programme goes through the basics of what trauma is, how to do trauma rehabilitation, positive classroom techniques – the whole works.”
For most Turkish teachers, this was new territory. In a report being produced by Maya Vakfi for Theirworld, one teacher said about troubled Syrian children: “When I first started I was thinking that they had problems with intelligence.
“After the training, I realised that all of these children were traumatised.”