Indonesian Help from Missouri

1 decade 3 years 11 months ago Thursday, February 23 2006 Feb 23, 2006 Thursday, February 23, 2006 5:07:29 PM CST February 23, 2006 in News

The University of Missouri based psychosocial trauma team traveled to Jakarta, Indonesia. Their training involved teaching people how to fish. But many of the children didn't want to do anything because they were looking for their parents.

The Tsunami damaged two-thirds of the fishing fleet in coastal regions. The MU lead group of psychiatrists and psychologists helped lead Tsunami survivors back to the water to teach them how to fish.

Over the last ten years, this Missouri Trauma Team has trained people in countries how to fish and how to be lay counselors.

In Indonesia, the world's second largest earthquake ever recorded, killed nearly 170,000 people. The most of any of the 12 affected countries.

One team member said, "At first, I thought this was hopeless, I thought, what were we doing. It was a bandaid on a huge gaping wound. But then I realized that people were taking what we're teaching them and teaching others." Which goes along with the old proverb that you can give them fish or you can teach them how to fish.

These team members have traveled the world helping victims of war and natural disaster deal with post traumatic stress. These doctors spend thousands of dollars of their own money on airfare alone and don't get paid for their work.

They travel to war torn countries and once even survived a sniper attack. An attack which would stick with them forever because they heard horrific stories about people who escaped but didn't have any limbs.

For the doctors many of their family members ask them why they help these people. But we really need to share our resources and our knowledge.

Dr. Arshad Husain lead this group and he has traveled all around the world helping traumatized children and adults. But to fully understand where he's going with this program, you have to understand where he came from.

In 1947, he and his family had to flee their home in India during ethnic cleansing. Millions of people were killed and Husain lost an uncle in the violence, so sizing up childhood trauma is easy for him because he's a former refugee himself.

One of 9 children, Husain didn't experience psychological problems, yet he could see problems in his siblings.

Now, his international center for psychosocial trauma has now trained thousands of people all over the world.

A teacher in Indonesia said the training itself is very helpful because their schools are having a lot of problems. I think this program will help us. Help that came from casting the right net whether it's on the Gulf Coast or the coast of the Indian Ocean.

Whether it's children of Palestine or Bosnia or children all the world, you have to give them a hope for the future.

Dr. Husain talks about his childhood experience with war in his book, " Hope for the Children."

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