”Ensuring mental health protection for refugees and asylum seekers and supporting the asylum system in Serbia”
With the support of UNHCR Serbia, during 2021 PIN is implementing the project aimed at providing comprehensive mental health protection and psychosocial support services for refugees and asylum seekers in Serbia.
Project activities include various psychological interventions such as individual and group psychological support, psychosocial support, as well as multidisciplinary advocacy efforts. Furthermore, the project aims to advocate for an asylum system that is sensitive to mental health through provision of psychological assessments for the purpose of the asylum procedure and psychological preparation for its different stages.
COVID-19 Relief Fund (CRF)
With the support from Kahane Foundation, PIN continues to provide online psychological support and counselling to refugees and migrants in Serbia as well as to the local population affected by virus COVID-19. The goal of the project that is being implemented in 2021 is to ensure that support is accessible and available to the most vulnerable groups during the pandemic.
“Together towards community”, in partnership with the organization Prostor
PIN is a partner of the organization Prostor on the project “Together towards community”, a part of the regional project “SOCIETIES”, funded by European Union and implemented by Caritas Serbia and Civic Initiatives.
The project is implemented from February 2021 to January 2022 with the aim to improve quality of life of users of psychiatric services through ensuring high quality and structured community psychosocial support program. Moreover, the project will be focused on defining and licencing of community mental health protection service in the system of social welfare protection as well as on ensuring evidence-based psychosocial support program.
“Psychosocial response during COVID-19 pandemic – Preventing burnout among care providers and providing psychosocial support to COVID-19 patients and family members”
From 15th September to 31st December, PIN in collaboration with UNFPA Serbia and the support of German Embassy in Belgrade provides psychosocial support focused on overcoming psychological difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The project includes delivering trainings to care providers working in institutions of social welfare (gerontology centers and centers for accommodating minors) with the goal of empowering and strengthening their psychological capacities. Themes of the trainings are preserving mental health during the pandemic, as well as providing psychological first aid to beneficiaries. The second part of the project includes providing free online psychological support to coronavirus patients, as well as their family members and friends, with the goal of providing timely support to people in crisis who are directly or indirectly affected by the pandemic.
Red cross of Serbia
Training for volunteers “The Basics of Psychological First Aid During The COVID-19 Pandemic”
During April 2020, PIN has successfully held a series of trainings for volunteers of Red Cross of Serbia with the goal of extending their knowledge about the basics of providing psychological first aid.
The trainings included a theoretical segment during which the participants were thoroughly acquainted to the principles of psychological first aid, as well as a segment provided for discussion in which the volunteers had the opportunity to share their experiences in working with beneficiaries and obtain answers to their questions from a psychologists with an extensive experience in the field.
The trainings were attended by 38 volunteers from 7 cities and municipalities: Savski venac, Pančevo, Lazarevac, Aleksinac, Kruševac, Mali Iđoš and Kula.
Training for employees “Mental Health During Pandemic – Risks and Recommendations”
With the support of OXFAM Italia office, during April 2020 PIN implemented support program for staff aiming to protect mental health and support adaptive coping with stress during pandemic.
Program includes group training on risks and challenges related to mental health and psychological well-being during pandemic, as well as provision of individual support in coping with stress and crisis related to COVID-19 pandemic. The importance of this training lies in the use of primary prevention methods which decrease the vulnerability of the individual to developing psychological hardships during the crisis.
We would like to thank to OXFAM Italia Serbia for invitation and their trust, but also for showing good example in responsible and carrying approach to their staff well-being.
“Supporting refugees’ and asylum seekers’ well-being and strengthening the asylum system and integration in Serbia”
With the support of UNHCR Serbia in 2020 PIN is implementing the project aimed at providing community based psychological support, delivering activities that foster well-being of refugees and asylum seekers in Serbia, advocating for sensitive asylum system which will enhance refugee’s self-reliance and facilitate their integration into the local community, supported by reliable research data.
The main activities on the project include culturally, age and gender sensitive individual and group psychological support at locations where gaps in availability of psychological support services are identified; psychological assessment for the asylum procedure and other legal purposes; continuous psychological support to asylum seekers during different stages of the asylum procedure; facilitation of support groups for asylum seekers aiming to mobilize and strengthen informal community support networks and strengthen personal and community capacities; research activities oriented towards exploring refugees’ hardships, needs, potentials, resilience, coping strategies and factors that contribute to refugees’ mental health, well-being and successful integration.
OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATION, SERBIA
“Towards the improvement of mental health protection in Serbia“
PIN, in collaboration with World Health Organization Office in Serbia and with the financial support from Open Society Foundation, is implementing a project aiming at the improvement of mental health protection in Serbia as well as capacity building of service providers, institutions and organizations focused on mental health protection of refugees and migrants in Serbia, from October 2019 till August 2021. The project activities are focused on organizing regular and urgent meetings of the Working group on mental health protection of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Serbia, organizing training and supervision meetings with the national and international experts in the filed of mental health protection of refugees, establishing network of local and regional actors in the protection of mental health and raising awareness regarding the importance of prevention of mental health difficulties as well as available services in the community.
“Youth for Change: Building the resilience of Serbian youth through engagement, leadership and development of their cognitive and social-emotional skills”
With the support of European Commission Contracting Authority: Hedayah – International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, PIN is implementing the project aimed at preventing radicalization leading to violent extremism. We strive to educate and empower youth through psychoeducational workshops in high schools in Belgrade, Sjenica and Novi Pazar. The main goals of the project are improving youth’s cognitive, social and emotional skills, strengthening their leadership skills, as well as their sense of belongingness to their communities through the organization of public events in their local communities. Young people will be encouraged to take more active role in their communities which will be achieved by providing them with relevant skills and competences in the area of social and emotional well-being, facilitating their social integration, building tolerance and creating an atmosphere of acceptance. The program will be implemented from August 2019 until July 2020.
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
With the support of European Union to Republic of Serbia and World Health Organization, PIN has successfully conducted training program for more than 300 health professionals in the Republic of Serbia. Training program was focused on provision of culturally sensitive care, stress management and prevention of burnout and secondary traumatization in health care providers.
Project was implemented from September 2018 to April 2019, at ten locations, including: Vranje, Bujanovac, Pirot, Kikinda, Sombor, Šid, Loznica, Sjenica, Tutin and Belgrade.
Project was implemented by UNDP, WHO, IOM and UNOPS, while training program has been developed and implemented by PIN and WHO, in collaboration with a team of experts from the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Philosophy and Institute for Medical Research, University of Belgrade, as well as from the Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Serbia.
“Enhancing well-being of refugee boys and empowering them through Boys on the Move workshop program“
With the support of UNFPA Serbia, in May 2019 we started the project “Enhancing well-being of refugee boys and empowering them through Boys on the Move workshop program“. The aim of this project is to support and strengthen the capacities of unaccompanied minors, refugee boys and young adults. The activities will be implemented through the Boys on the Move workshop program aimed at capacity building, sharing experiences and building a social network, prevention of risky behaviors, as well as providing key knowledge and skills that they will be able to apply now and in the future, in order to face everyday challenges they encounter. The implementation of the project activities is until September 2019.
EUROPEAN UNION SUPPORT TO MIGRATION MANAGEMENT IN THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA SERBIA, OXFAM ITALIA
“Together – Engaging Local Communities to Foster Cross-Cultural Social Cohesion“
With the support of the European Union Support to Migration Management in the Republic of Serbia, alongside with Oxfam Italia, PIN is implementing activities in the local communities of 9 cities: Sjenica, Tutin, Subotica, Sombor, Kikinda, Pirot, Vranje, Bosilegrad and Bujanovac in the time period of May to November 2019th year.
The project aims to involve and connect refugees and migrants, currently living in Serbia, with local people through various actions in the local community, such as ecological, sporting, and educational activities. Project activities are carried out with scriptwriters of the popular web portal “Njuz.net” which, in addition to participating in sports and ecological activities with PIN, aids in producing a series of socially relevant public discussions on the topic of migrants in society in order to identify similarities and common goals that different cultures can share. During these public discussions, visitors have the opportunity to exchange their personal experiences and experiences from their community on the challenges that the refugee and migrant population encounter during their stay in Serbia.
“Provision of culturally sensitive psychological support and counselling to refugees and migrants“
With the support from Kahane Foundation, PIN will continue providing continuous culturally sensitive psychological support to the most vulnerable ones from refugee and migrant population throughout the year 2019 and 2020. The goals of this project are to enable refugees’ and migrants’ access to psychological support at all locations in Serbia, to facilitate development of resilience and adaptive coping mechanisms as well as to build capacities for integration and everyday functioning. Moreover, as a part of this project, PIN will be conducting research on the effects of psychological support in refugee context aiming to improve evidence-based practice.
IOM AND SWISS AGENCY FOR DEVELOPMENT AND COOPERATION
“Getting young refugees involved: additional education for integration”
In April 2019, PIN started with the implementation of the six month project “Getting Young Refugees Involved: Additional Education for Integration”, which is being implemented as part of the project “Improving the Social Protection of Migrants in a Vulnerable Position in Serbia”, implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) .
The aim of this project is to support young refugees and unaccompanied minors currently living in Serbia in developing key skills that can be of use to them in their personal, academic, and business life. Support is provided in an informal manner that includes additional education in the form of Serbian and English language classes, IT workshops, as well as psycho-educational and creative workshops. Project activities are carried out in Belgrade in the Centers for accommodation of foreign minors “Zmaj” and on Vodovodska Street, as well as in the premises of PIN. In addition to developing practical psychological skills and language and IT competencies, the project provides a safe space for creative expression and integration.
The project is implemented within the framework of the Migration Dialogue and with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
“Informal Education as a Prevention Mechanism for Minor & Young Adult Refugees in Serbia”
From April through the end of August 2019, with the support of LDS Charities Serbia, PIN implemented a project for young refugees and unaccompanied minors currently living in Serbia. Activities aim to provide vital psycho-educational resources not only for minors located in Belgrade, but also in remote camps in southwest Serbia. Psycho-educational support in the form of workshops is provided in the Centers for the accommodation of foreign minors, namely “Zmaj” and on Vodovodska Street, as well as in the asylum centers in Sjenica and Tutin. Activities focus on education and prevention of risky behaviors, strengthening capacities to deal with daily challenges in the adolescent period in the specificities of the refugee context, as well as increasing social support through the encouragement of cooperation and exchanges of experiences.
“Strong and Independent: empowering women through creative activities and psychosocial education”
In April 2019, with the support of LDS Charities Serbia, PIN started a project aimed at empowering women and young girls from vulnerable groups called “Strong and Independent- Empowering Women through Creative Activities and Psychosocial Education“. Project activities include embroidery, art, and psycho-educational workshops, with emphasis on the development of business skills and knowledge. The goal of the project is to provide practical skills and knowledge through the development of creative skills and art, which will stimulate the sense of personal value and growth of self-confidence and which in the future could create an environment for economic empowerment and independence. The workshops should encourage young girls and women to value themselves, activate their leadership abilities, and learn how to realize their ideas. These activities provide the space for informal gatherings and socialization and the creation of new social networks of support, which is of particular importance since women and girls from vulnerable groups are often faced with a reduced number of social contacts and, therefore, available support systems.
“Strengthening self-reliance and well-being in order to support integration and asylum system in Serbia”
With the support of UNHCR Serbia in 2019. PIN is implementing the project aimed at providing community based psychological support, delivering activities that foster well-being of refugees and asylum seekers in Serbia, advocating for sensitive asylum system which will enhance refugee’s self-reliance and fulfillment of personal capacities, supported by reliable research data. The main activities on the project include culturally, age and gender sensitive individual and group psychological support; asylum procedure related psychological interventions; psychological assessment for the asylum procedure and other legal purposes; research activities oriented towards exploring refugees’ hardships, needs, potentials, coping strategies and factors that contribute to resilience, as well as on exploring challenges and barriers met during asylum procedure and integration process; supporting self-reliance of beneficiaries through provision of specialized trainings and identification of skills among members of refugee community, with the aim of providing beneficiaries with the opportunity to become peer counselors/ experts; facilitation of support groups for asylum seekers aiming to strengthen informal community support networks and existing community capacities.
Open Society Foundation, Serbia
“Towards the improvement of mental health and psychosocial support services in Serbia“
PIN, in collaboration with World Health Organization Office in Serbia and financial support from Open Society Foundation, is implementing a project aiming at improvement of mental health services for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Serbia, from September 2018 till October 2019. Throughout the project, “Introduction to Guidance on protection and improvement of mental health services to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Serbia” for providers of mental health services, Commissariat for refugees and migrations, providers of other types of services and interpreter/cultural mediators are organized in order to improve the protection system and coordination of relevant actors in the field, as well as to improve accessibility and quality of these services. Moreover, supervision for mental health professionals are organized with the aim to build professional capacities and prevent burnout and secondary traumatization. This project supports establishment of a working group focused on mental health of refugees that would represent an advisory and coordination body for the provision of services in the area of mental health.
Open Society Foundation, Serbia
“Education towards interculturalism: the integration of refugees into the local community“
In September 2018, PIN commenced implementation of the six-month project entitled Education towards interculturalism: the integration of refugees into the local community, funded by Open Society Foundation, Serbia. The project develops a program of intercultural education for refugee children, as well as children from the local communities engaged in elementary schools in Belgrade, with the aim of improving their intercultural competences, sensitivity, resilience and psychological well-being through extra-curricular workshops.
The main objective of the project is to provide support and to encourage the integration of children from different ethnic, religious, socioeconomic and cultural environments into local schools and communities, while encouraging their psychological well-being and improving the quality of life in the community.
The project activities will enhance the development and improvement of intercultural competencies; accepting the differences and promoting diversity; development and improvement of intercultural sensitivity and tolerance; adopting different life skills and empowering children; improvement of social and emotional well-being and resilience in children.
THE EUROPEAN UNION, KONRAD ADENAUER FOUNDATION, CITIZENS’ ASSOCIATION ATINA & MACEDONIAN LAWYERS ASSOCIATION
“Building together – Community Monitoring and Advocacy”
The project “Building together – Community Monitoring and Advocacy” is funded by The European Union and implemented by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Atina – Citizens’ Association for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings and all Forms of Gender-based Violence, and Macedonian Lawyers Association. The project is aimed at improving migrants’ and refugees’ position in Serbia and Macedonia, particularly women and children. Under this project, PIN provides activities designed to facilitate integration process and to improve refugees’ position in the local community. Main activities include provision of psychoeducational and educational workshops focused on empowerment of young refugees and acquisition of new life skills, joint activities with local community in order to reduce fear and prejudices towards migrants and refugees as well as to provide the opportunity to build positive relationships between migrants and local community, and joint public events with migrants and local citizens aimed at raising awareness about the needs, rights and capacities of migrants and refugees in the local community.
Through a pilot project, funded by International Rescue Committee (IRC) from January until June 2018, teachers in primary schools that are hosting migrant and refugee children were trained in Healing Classrooms: Social-emotional learning (SEL) with the aim of enhancing safe and nurturing learning space where children affected by crisis and conflict can learn, grow and thrive.
The project aims at providing teachers with tools, techniques and continuous support that would help them create a positive classroom environment where children are safe and protected from violence, encourage them to cooperate with various systems of support and engage parents and other caregivers in order to ensure that the principles of Healing Classrooms are implemented in the school as well as outside of it.
“Provision of Community Based Psychosocial Support to Refugees in Serbia”
Under the “Provision of Community Based Psychosocial Support to Refugees in Serbia” project funded by UNHCR, PIN in 2018, provides community-based psychological support to refugees and asylum seekers in Belgrade, Banja Koviljaca, and Bogovadja.
Project’s activities are predominately focused on empowering beneficiaries, improving their resilience, developing adaptive coping mechanisms and (re)establishing community networks that should serve as a protective factor and support system for its members. Activities include psychoeducational workshops and group psychological support focused on improving emotional and social well-being, various preventive (occupational and creative) and educational workshops orientated toward acquiring new skills and knowledge. In addition, PIN actively supports integration process by organizing Serbian language classes, facilitating integration and adaptation of refugee children to the school environment and organizes joint activities for refugees and the local population, with the aim of encouraging cultural exchange and promoting tolerance.
Furthermore, PIN, in order to ensure evidence-based practice, conducts research activities exploring refugees’ well-being, needs, adjustment and integration process as well as the support system in Serbia. Ultimately, PIN is actively involved in sensitization and raising awareness regarding refugees’ needs and gaps in the current support system and advocates for changes necessary for improving their psychosocial well-being.
“Supporting Refugees’ and Service Providers’ Mental Health”
PIN implemented the IRC funded project Supporting refugees’ and service providers’ mental health from August, 2017 until December, 2017. This project aimed to provide migrants, refugees and asylum seekers with psychological assessment, support, counselling and informal education in order to improve their mental health and well -being. This support was realized through mental health assessment, occupational/psychoeducational/creative workshops and individual/group psychological counseling.
The project also provided professionals with continuous support and training in order to prevent burnout and secondary traumatization. Training with service providers were conducted with the aim to educate and sensitize them on psychological hardships among refugees including PTSD, anxiety and depression. Support groups were conducted in order to provide psychological support for the service providers, enhance their psychological well -being and help them with understanding and strengthening their resilience and coping mechanisms.
This project was implemented in close coordination with the IRC and numerous organizations working directly with refugees in the field (e.g. RAS, NSHC, BCHR, Info Park, Atina, Ana i Vlade Divac Foundation, Sos Children Villages, Group 484 etc).
“Monitoring accessibility of psychosocial support to refugees in Serbia” – Divac Foundation
Since June 2017, PIN is engaged in project “Monitoring accessibility of psychosocial support to refugees in Serbia“ founded by Divac Foundation. The project aims to strengthen collaborations between 20 organizations working along the “Balkan route” and bolster their capacities to efficiently identify and document availability and accessibility of psychosocial support to different groups of refugees in order to establish a more efficient communication between relevant actors engaged in the migrant crisis in Serbia. The overall objective of the project is to establish a systematic protocol within the organization for identification, documenting and reporting on human rights violations in regards to accessibility of psychosocial support to refugees in order to provide adequate and adjusted assistance, in a timely manner and in coordination with all relevant actors to most vulnerable individuals.
DFID & IRC
“Making a Difference for Refugee Children in Europe” – Department for International Development (DFID) and International Rescue Committee (IRC)
Under the project funded by DFID and supported by IRC, running from July 2016 to June 2017, PIN provided psychosocial support to refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers’ children, unaccompanied children below 12 years of age, and unaccompanied minors 12 years and older in Serbia.
The main activities included:
• Provision of psychological support
• Implementation of educational workshops with the aim of developing life skills and increasing English language skills and computer knowledge
• Referrals to legal and medical services
• Information provision and advocacy
• Supporting the process of enrollment in the formal education system
• Research on the needs and capacities of refugee children
• Awareness-raising activities on the refugee crisis in local communities
During this project, PIN supported more than 400 refugee children and minors, as well as more than 50 parents accommodated in the camps in Krnjaca and Obrenovac, Bogovadja, Banja Koviljaca, Sjenica and Tutin. Additionally, PIN organized awareness raising events “Refugees in Serbia – children’ perspective” for children in local schools in Lajkovac, Nis and Sombor.
“Psychological support for service providers – International Rescue Committee”
Under the project supported by International Rescue Committee PIN provides psychological support to service providers directly working with refugees at different locations in Serbia.
Through individual and group support meetings, service providers have the opportunity to work on establishing healthy boundaries, setting realistic expectations, work through numerous traumatic experiences shared with them by beneficiaries, identify and practice adaptive coping strategies, and explore possibilities for establishing and maintaining good cooperation with different fellow organization on the field.
In order to ensure evidence-based practice and valid recommendations, PIN is conducting studies which aim to identify protective and risk factors related to burnout syndrome and secondary traumatization.
“Provision of Psychological Assistance to Vulnerable Refugees in Serbia – UNHCR”
Under the “Provision of Psychological Assistance to Vulnerable Refugees in Serbia” project founded by UNHCR, PIN provides psychosocial support to refugees and asylum seekers at different locations in Serbia. Our activities are focused on providing Psychological First Aid and empowerment, individual and group support and counseling, conducting psychological assessments, and conducting preventive activities such as educational, psychoeducational, occupational, and creative workshops. A special focus is placed on providing support to victims of sexual and gender based violence, unaccompanied and separated children and minors, and psychologically vulnerable individuals. In addition, PIN actively supports the integration process through Serbian and English language lessons, as well as organizing joint activities and workshops for refugees and the local population, with the aim of encouraging cultural exchange, reducing prejudices, and promoting tolerance.
In order to ensure evidence-based practice, PIN is conducting numerous studies regarding the current state of mental health among refugees, their strengths, difficulties they are facing, evaluation of support systems, and the efficiency of varied psychological approaches and interventions.
In addition, PIN conducts numerous trainings on the psychological aspects of the refugee crisis for professionals directly working with refugees. PIN is actively involved in sensitization, raising awareness, and advocacy regarding this matter.