Europe Refugee Support

About This Project

In Europe, IAHV provides Trauma-Relief, Resilience and Empowerment Workshops for refugees. We provide flexible programming, ranging from 1 to 10 hours, as well as follow up sessions.

Volunteers and organisations interested to provide the IAHV trauma-relief and stress management techniques to refugee populations, can attend a 2,5 day Volunteer Training organised on a regular basis across Europe.

In a next phase, we will offer advanced programs, as well as Peacebuilding Training for refugees who would like to return to rebuild their countries of origin. We will also start with Trainings on Social Cohesion with both refugee and host community populations.

Currently, IAHV Refugee Support Europe is active in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Sweden.


IAHV Refugee Support Belgium

20170921_115511Belgium organised its first migrant HRE program in collaboration with a Dutch language school in Brussels. The participants came from various backgrounds, such as Mali, Morocco, Iraq, Armenia and Iran. Some have been in Belgium for a short time and some for a few years already. Despite their best efforts to integrate into the Belgian lifestyle and learn the local languages, they have been unsuccessful in securing stable work. With their emotionally heavy background coming from conflict areas and being away from their family and familiar surroundings, they were really looking forward to the HRE techniques and tools to increase their level of energy, enthusiasm and sense of hope.

20170921_120527After 3 sessions of 2 hours each, they released a lot of internal stresses and tensions and could finally experience some internal silence and deep relaxation. We have follow-up sessions every 2 weeks in order to ensure the integration of the techniques and tools learned.
“This program gave me hope for the future”North African migrant after our 6hr HRE program
 “I could finally relax after years of stress”Iraqi migrant in Belgium


IAHV Refugee Support Greece

Women’s Program

In 2016 we started a Peace and Reconciliation Program at Melissa Network, a centre for migrant women in Greece, promoting empowerment, communication and active citizenship for Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Afghani and Kurdish women.

picture1The weekly 1,5 hour program has seen a steady increase in the number of participants, who benefit from the simple techniques:

“I was having problems sleeping and you told us to lie on our backs and breathe twenty times with the special breath and every time I do this I fall asleep”
“You gave me some breathing exercises for my son and it has helped him so much. He relaxes and I see that his breathing is easier”
“Every time I leave the workshop I feel more calm and more relaxed. I told my mother to come and she feels the same”

Children’s Program

picture2For some years, we have also been working with children known as ‘endangered minors’ who have been separated from their families, refugee children and homeless young people living in a school in Athens. The majority of children come from Syria and Afghanistan but also Kurds and Iraqis. Most of these children are in transit and move to countries across Europe mainly Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Holland. We run sessions for the young people twice a week and 5 day courses on the islands in the Summer.

familyTwo boys from our original group in Athens, who are now adults, help us with the sessions in the school, while the other boys have, over the years, been reunited with their families.

Jined and Mousse, now help at the school.  Ramin did the Art of Living program in Hamburg last year and Aron and Abil are now living in Zurich where they met Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the Ethics in Sport Conference.twins

We also organise trips to the dentist when needed as well as the very popular swimming trips in the summer. We work mainly in the playground of the school as the rooms are needed for families to live in. Last Christmas we organised a Christmas party for all the children which was a big success!


IAHV Refugee Support Netherlands

nl-2017-2After Syrian refugees came flooding into the Netherlands, many Dutch citizens felt compelled to support them and offer a helping hand. The same was true for trainers and other volunteers of IAHV and the Art of Living Foundation. This led to the first Healing, Resilience and Empowerment training for volunteers, organised in September 2016. Subsequently, the participants formed 4 regional teams, in different parts of the country.
The teams organize stress release courses for refugees in close cooperation with (governmental) organizations responsible for the reception and support of refugees in the Netherlands. The courses provide the refugees with tools to release stress and relax mentally and physically. After the 3 day course, participants are invited to join the weekly follow ups.
Participants are very enthusiastic about the results of the course and bring their family and friends to join the sessions. The majority originates from Syria, Iran, Afghanistan and Eritrea. They report improved sleep, more peace of mind and improved ability to concentrate during Dutch language classes. According to one of them, even his friend noticed his improved mood after the sessions.
nl-2017-3IAHV Refugee Support NL
* empowering refugees with tools to release stress and tension
* working with local teams with expertise regarding work with refugees
* offering long term, weekly support



20 November