HEALING, RESILIENCE AND PREVENTING EXTREMISM for affected families
Since 2012, youth between age 14 to 25 have been secretly leaving their Belgian homes and families to go to Syria and join the ISIS cause. With a total of 482 official departures, Belgium has the highest recruitment rate of foreign fighters in Europe as a % of their population.
This has left families distraught and broken, and led to harsh stigmatisation, loss of jobs and respect within the community. These families were given very little support to ‘deal’ with the situation as for most of them, the disappearing of their children was unexpected and sudden.
IAHV has been working with the mothers of these foreign fighters to support their healing process, imparting practical tools to restrengthen their inner resilience and move towards acceptance of what has happened in order to reconstruct a stable family environment.
TRAUMA-RELIEF AND HEALING for survivors of terror attacks
March 22, 2016 – Brussels experienced its worst nightmare – 2 terrorist attacks at the airport and metro station near the EU quarter during peak hours – leaving 32 dead, hundreds injured and thousands traumatised.
Since then, IAHV has assisted in different ways by offering free trauma relief sessions to the Belgian public as of the next day of the explosions as well as supporting airport staff suffering from PTSD.
From the airport staff group, there was a drop of 60% in their daily anxiety level as well as sleeping disorders. Their energy level increased by 40% and all of them had better control of their thoughts and memories. Another 60% drop was observed in both their level of feeling irritated and in their difficulty to concentrate.
PROFESSIONAL EXCELLENCE AND PREVENTING EXTREMISM
In April 2017 we provided a Professional Excellence training for youth lawyers in Antwerp who work with difficult youths and are looking for alternative interventions for returnees and radicalized youth instead of prison.
On the invitation of Brussels Prevention and Security (BPS), IAHV is providing three trainings on Preventing Extremism and Self Management for agents working on preventing radicalisation and violence in Brussels.
In September 2017, IAHV conducted a Preventing Extremism and Stress Resilience program for youth facilitators in Laeken to strengthen their inner resilience as well as empower them with in-depth knowledge on the psychosocial factors driving youth towards violence, gangs and radicalisation. Two weeks later Walk-In workshops were organised offering something the youth had never experienced before : learning to overcome their restlessness, developing a finer sense of awareness and having fun at the same time.
Our main partner in this initiative has been SAVE Belgium, founded by one of the mothers, who is a pillar of strength for the others. SAVE Belgium is also a partner in a number of initiatives to support affected families as well as preventing further extremism among the youth.
IAHV has also partnered with Families Against Violent Extremism (FATE) to share know-how and to provide sustainable programs for dealing with trauma and prevention of further extremism.