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
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.

  • RT @RockBrosFund: "At the heart of our work is a simple yet fundamental notion that feelings of safety are inextricably tied to feeling con…
  • Resettlement can be extremely isolating without the right support. This article shows the importance of support net… https://t.co/nZv067BQOZ
  • 'Good health and wellbeing should be a reality for all of us, no matter where you come from and what status you hav… https://t.co/mC6E8niClM
  • Our team are at the @MovingMindsECD annual meeting presenting our community approach to psychosocial care and our e… https://t.co/gh8PZyzmKw
  • This week, the Home Office will inform people that they will be sent to Rwanda. Far from 'humanitarian', the plan i… https://t.co/NnYhdZzOpx
  • Three Syrian refugees have been sentenced to a collective 439 years in jail in Greece for steering a boat. The cru… https://t.co/dlVNlbgcZt
  • The pain of separation from home and loved ones can linger for years but rapid, consistent psychosocial support can… https://t.co/NlPPxzqC7X
  • The criminalisation of asylum has led to an increase of immigration detention. A new report from @WHO_Europe has f… https://t.co/XISgc3Gw44
  • It's our ambition to make psychosocial safe spaces available to everyone affected by conflict and displacement. Tha… https://t.co/ke8t7PjSb1
  • Child refugees often carry anxiety and stress but can also be incredibly resilient with the right support. Schools… https://t.co/4w4GJ3ofEu
  • Early childhood is a critical time for children's development but, for displaced children, this period is disrupted… https://t.co/6DMpWBkhoW
  • The Amna team wishes all celebrating a happy, peaceful and blessed Eid al-Fitr! #EidMubarak
  • The UK's offshore asylum deal with Rwanda is illegal and immoral. It will also certainly have a catastrophic impact… https://t.co/4847ulinFr
  • Despite growing need, mental health care remains under resourced and under funded. Integrated psychosocial support… https://t.co/PEXeAd3vqe
  • We're devastated that the UK government has passed the Nationality and Borders bill. It's part of a sad trend of co… https://t.co/8hv3Swg9Fs
  • Our Founder @ZarlashtH is speaking at this year's @TheWellbeingP summit to help advance collective and inner wellbe… https://t.co/uvTBUrvem4
  • Delays in the asylum process are more than bureaucratic - They can cause deep psychological strain and distress, ma… https://t.co/gs2ARPEJyP