St Kitts – Week 1&2
Because of our work with the head of education in Dominica doing teacher training debriefing in the northern areas of the island, the Ross University of Medicine requested if three K1 Britannia volunteer trauma counsellors would be available to do debriefing sessions for the faculty and staff (along with their spouses and children) who had been evacuated there from Dominica, and are now starting to teach the semester in St Kitts.
We were able to host 2-4 hour sessions in the morning and afternoons as well, inviting any staff members who wanted to attend who felt they needed debriefing. We provided a space for them to talk and share their experience. There was a great need for many of the staff members to have time to unwind from the high stress situation of evacuating after the hurricane, leaving behind family, friends, and broken homes. We were impressed at how capable the caregivers are at putting aside their own feelings in order to care for others and were grateful for the opportunity to be able to give them a platform to get the encouragement and support that they too needed during this time.
The sessions have been very beneficial and appreciated by local, Dominican, and international staff. Many attendees expressed their appreciation of our unique approach, and thanked us for our time.
A special session was hosted for the children of faculty and staff, incorporating art, music therapy, recreation, and physical activities. The session focused on allowing the children to express how they are feeling and help deal with the loss and trauma in the wake of Maria. We incorporated the “Return to Happiness” tools and booklets – a program developed by UNICEF, specifically for the psychological recovery of children and adolescents after traumatic events.
Our counsellors visited the preschool as well to spend time with the younger children ages 0-5 in art and play therapy. It was a joy to visit with them as it brought so much happiness to our hearts as well. After spending time with both the older and younger groups of children playing and drawing it was incredible to see their enthusiasm and be a part of their growing and moving on process.
It was special to see everyone’s willingness to get involved and participate in the group sessions and to take the time that they needed for themselves in order to be better teachers and help their students.
Our volunteer trauma counselors held daily individual and group debriefing sessions for both staff and faculty during the 2 weeks that they were on the island.