Model & Strategy

Refugee Trauma Initiative (RTI) 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.RTI 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.

RTI’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
Refugee Trauma Initiative
United Kingdom, Europe
Developing tools and resources to help refugees, aid workers, and organizations build approaches to manage stress, insecurity, and trauma.
Meet Zarlasht Halaimzai

Zarlasht Halaimzai is the Director and co-founder of Refugee Trauma Initiative. 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, RTI has provided vital psychological support to over 4,000 refugees and run trainings for over 1,000 humanitarians working with refugees.

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

RTI 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 @FreefromTorture: Dear Boris Jonhson - an open letter. 40 different celebrities have come together to urge Boris Johnson to rethink the…
  • Refugees have often been through traumatic experiences and require support to be able to adjust to their new enviro… https://t.co/HiTtZSHUMc
  • Nearly 2 months after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, the UK government's resettlement scheme is not open… https://t.co/N1tVM2Slbm
  • Little Amal arrives in the UK tomorrow on the final stage of her journey. Approximately half of refugees around the… https://t.co/84eExs1wKu
  • Australia has ended its offshore agreement with Papua New Guinea. Seeking asylum is a human right enshrined in inte… https://t.co/haafRsR5UQ
  • Pushbacks are continuing across Europe, violating people's right to seek safety and asylum. Not only are pushbacks… https://t.co/bgHjeBy202
  • The crisis in #Afghanistan has left millions of Afghans facing difficult challenges to their physical and emotional… https://t.co/QWRAXAoiJ9
  • News that officials may be given immunity if their actions lead to refugee deaths is a shocking and grim statement… https://t.co/xnPOtpLVtl
  • Afghan refugees need support after the traumatic events of the last few months. We recently announced programmes to… https://t.co/Ki4tDPPQLs
  • New UK home office guidance states 'Deporting Afghan refugees presents no real risk of harm'. This sets a dangerous… https://t.co/lFcmE6e5sV
  • We receive a lot of messages about how to support Afghans and learn more. Our CEO @ZarlashtH contributed to this fr… https://t.co/cMc9N97tKZ
  • Asylum seekers and refugees experience higher rates of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders than… https://t.co/9r2oRmLbwP
  • Our vision is a world where everyone affected by conflict and displacement can heal. This year we launched programm… https://t.co/maaQiCkDN6
  • We can only provide effective support when we are at our best! Self and team care are essential when providing emer… https://t.co/uE6regpmx1
  • RT @JRAN_UK: What can we do to help with the #AfghanistanCrisis? Find out in this short, moving & informative conversation between @Zarlas…
  • Afghan refugees and communities may need extra support to process what they've been through. We have set up therape… https://t.co/QeQSEAQz88
  • Refugees need spaces where they feel accepted, heard and can let go of stress. Trauma-sensitive psychosocial suppor… https://t.co/3KOTr1xCju
  • Thousands of #Afghan lives have been turned upside down in recent months. We are supporting organisations set up tr… https://t.co/Myr3p5a1yE
  • RT @scotrefcouncil: “This is senseless and cruel. It is clear that the plans set out in the government’s anti-refugee bill are already in a…