Model & Strategy

Amna (previously Refugee Trauma Initiative) provides mental health services to refugees in Greece who are coping with the trauma of conflict and displacement, while also training and supporting local aid workers, equipping them with tools to meet the mental health needs of refugees. Amna is unique in that it offers high-quality mental health support that is rooted in the target community’s culture, and also builds the capacity of local communities and organizations.

Amna’s flagship program, ‘Baytna’ (which means “our home” in Arabic), provides families with emotional support along with trauma-sensitive early childhood care and development for children ages 0-6. Baytna’s play-based learning methodology helps mitigate the impacts traumatic events can have on physical and mental health over the course of a lifetime.

At a Glance
Founded: 2016
Co-Founder & Director : Zarlasht Halaimzai
Social Justice
Location of work: International, United Kingdom, Europe
Amna
United Kingdom, Europe
Nurturing joy and belonging
Meet Zarlasht Halaimzai

Zarlasht Halaimzai is the Director and co-founder of Amna. Over the last 10 years, she has set up programs targeting displaced and vulnerable communities in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Syria, the UK, and Greece. Zarlasht has trained in Childhood and Adolescent Counselling and Psychotherapy at the University of Cambridge and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioural Therapy at the University of Oxford.

Zarlasht has firsthand experience of conflict and displacement. Growing up in Kabul, she spent her childhood in a warzone and was forced to flee spending four years in transit before arriving in the UK.

Zarlasht has recently received a number of awards including the 2018 Obama Fellowship, and Marie Claire Magazine’s 2017 Future Shapers Award.

Impact

In less than four years of operations, Amna has provided vital psychological support to over 4,000 refugees and run trainings for over 1,000 humanitarians working with refugees.

Amna has a strong reputation as an innovator in developing targeted mental health programs for refugees as well as capacity-building tools for NGOs.

Amna is creating models that can be replicated globally, raising the global standard in mental health care for refugees and promoting effective practices in humanitarian self-care.

  • In #Greece, an asylum system based on exclusion and deterrence drives poor mental health among refugees and asylum… https://t.co/wuBJwwH7R5
  • “The support is important to end the violence...We need to support the family. We need to hear the stories of survi… https://t.co/B4o5tWs6BK
  • Refugees' challenges, traumas and grief doesn't suddenly end after reaching a place of safety. That's why long ter… https://t.co/saUW1Hcw0U
  • 7 years after the photo of Alan Kurdi shocked the world, children are continuing to die because of violent border p… https://t.co/qddqBDYlmg
  • We're saddened to learn about the death of Barbara Winton. A fearless campaigner for refugees, she continuously spo… https://t.co/cLO0ByoUv6
  • Have you ever felt out of control of your emotions? Chances are you were outside your Window of Tolerance. Our intr… https://t.co/YUc4zZYnlS
  • "It's quite radical to say 'as an Afghan woman I matter'". Our founder @ZarlashtH on why self-care is a radical con… https://t.co/nCZivmaRnT
  • Refugees face a myriad of obstacles in accessing mental health care - from availability and accessibility to stigma… https://t.co/xweN2yyHGJ
  • The Amna team wishes Jewish communities around the world a sweet start to the New Year and Shana Tova!
  • RT @GWFellow: War and conflict cause collective trauma. That is why @Amnahealing’s approach is to set up collective healing spaces & traini…
  • This week, the Amna team welcomed @GWFellow for a convening on displacement + health. We're proud to be working wit… https://t.co/BkuhkhuOS6
  • If you spend time caring for others, you may be taking on their stress or traumas. This is called vicarious trauma.… https://t.co/UY8ysTZGzV
  • The importance of community in healing -->“Refugees tend to distrust the new environment. When they meet fellow Ukr… https://t.co/hovYl6ZPfr
  • Important new research from @SaveChildrenEU confirms the systemic violence used against refugee children travelling… https://t.co/17YF2Kh6tj
  • Community-based psychosocial interventions can dispel stigmas about mental health whilst also providing people with… https://t.co/s1TENAUeGp
  • Creative activities like arts and crafts are one of the ways young children first learn to express themselves. For… https://t.co/dd6x7UrcZU
  • Prolonged detention has a devastating impact on mental health, even years after freedom. A report from @MSF on how… https://t.co/Gu5PHaO36V
  • 'Mental health professionals should adopt evidence-based approaches inclusive of context, identity, and intersectio… https://t.co/JlUiPFm9Ls
  • Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning British monarch, has sadly passed. Her reign spanned many joyous historic… https://t.co/Mrm3FGRc2j
  • The UK asylum system often retraumatises people who are in search of safety. It urgently needs reform to a more com… https://t.co/rfswh3rouw