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.

  • Research from @refugeecouncil shows that the vast majority of those crossing the Channel would be given refugee sta… https://t.co/maOEcGkj7G
  • Refugees and asylum seekers are more likely to experience mental health challenges than the general population.… https://t.co/nPzeHxwXOW
  • Read about the impact of Baytna - our refugee-led, play-based, early childhood development model ⬇️. https://t.co/Ox0bSSbMck
  • One of the most effective ways to protect children from the worst impacts of early trauma is through strong bonds a… https://t.co/NN0o9ketgw
  • What does it mean to be identity-informed when practicing talking therapy (something that is not the norm in every… https://t.co/7lcF8spLHC
  • The shocking news of the systematic targeting of children by criminal gangs and the government's failure to protect… https://t.co/Sjux6Wl0Vj
  • 'The first step in addressing the challenge of increased border crossings is to see the people crossing the border… https://t.co/uutV3gV6JM
  • A great story that shows the power of solidarity, empathy and compassion: https://t.co/QbNf2o6FKa #refugeeswelcome
  • 'Framing the act of helping someone as either criminal or heroic implies that it’s somehow abnormal'. Indeed we nee… https://t.co/88B7u5mftA
  • Uncertain and unstable conditions in a 'safe' place can exacerbate trauma for asylum seekers. This piece highlights… https://t.co/lu61EouFWZ
  • More than 24,000 people attempting to reach Europe have been reported dead or missing at sea since 2014. Their fami… https://t.co/twmqT4pD7N
  • An important article on the long-term impacts of trauma, and how the UK's #Rwanda plan is retraumatising asylum se… https://t.co/wlcCoDGx1m
  • Our first free introductory training of the year takes place on the 18th January! Join us to learn about trauma-sen… https://t.co/3ulwRbuHI0
  • "I feel powerless". Some asylum seekers are left in limbo for years while their case is decided, taking a serious t… https://t.co/vAMp4KocmI
  • 1 in 3 asylum seekers and refugees will experience depression, anxiety and PTSD. Despite this mental health and hea… https://t.co/xcHf5JF8mT
  • In 2022, we reached more people in more parts of the world with our psychosocial healing support than before. With… https://t.co/npLb2JtDXE
  • In 2022, Amna began working in Pakistan to help Afghan refugees begin their process of healing with psychosocial su… https://t.co/9QHwFX2eTH
  • The Amna team wishes a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Holidays and peaceful new year to all! #spreadjoy
  • This year we continued to bring our psychosocial healing work to more communities. Our team were in Poland meeting… https://t.co/fv4Ha5Iefw
  • We're proud to have signed this joint statement to call for an end to the hostile environment facing those seeking… https://t.co/T5sQc5pcfV