MindSpring – a group programme for refugees about life in exile
Integration of newly arrived children and families
20 May 2018
The programme gives group members new knowledge, raises awareness and gives them new skills, which can help them manage exile issues.
MindSpring is a group program with, for and by refugees and immigrants.
The MindSpring method empowers the participants via new knowledge, reflections and competences about issues related to living in exile. MindSpring can furthermore create the basis for a social network. The MindSpring program features themes such as stress, identity, trauma and general challenges related to living in exile.
The MindSpring method is unique in the sense that the group program is facilitated by a volunteer with a language and background similar to that of the participants. This volunteer is called the MindSpring trainer. Because of a shared cultural background and experiences with living as a refugee in Denmark, the MindSpring trainer can recognize and understand most of the issues and living conditions of the participants. This is the basis for feeling safe and included in the group. Furthermore, the identification between the participants and the MindSpring trainer creates a safe space for learning, which enhances the outcome for the participants.
The MindSpring trainer is collaborating with a professional, in MindSpring called the “co-trainer”, who is employed in the organization where the group is organised, e.g. a municipality, school or a social institution. The main task for the MindSpring trainer is to guide and lead the group through the formulated themes with the co-trainer, whom contributes with professional support. For example, the co-trainer can provide facts regarding available welfare services or information about the local environment such as where to get professional help.
The mother tongue of the participants is the language used in the MindSpring groups. Hence, an interpreter translates simultaneously for the professional co-trainer, who often does not speak the language of the group.
Empowerment and Support for Parents
The purpose of MindSpring for parents is to empower and support the parenting skills as well as to prevent or counter family related and psychosocial problems and failure to thrive amongst their children. In the MindSpring group for parents, focus is on parenting and child education, norms and values, the rights of children as well as identity, stress and trauma. Thus the main theme is exile-related issues following from educating children in a new cultural setting while being affected by a past of war and flight.
Empowerment and Support for Young Refugees
The purpose of MindSpring for young refugees is empowerment through the prevention of failure to thrive psychologically and socially as well as the strengthening of identity and possibilities of young refugees. In MindSpring groups for youths, focus is on adolescence, loneliness and community as well as stress, identity and trauma. Thus the main theme revolves around the issues related to living in exile that follow from developing into adulthood while being affected by a past of war and flight.