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Sustainability in Northern Iraq

Emergency Pedagogy Training and Continuing Education Courses in the Crisis Region


On November 4th, 2016, a team from emergency pedagogy travelled for the eleventh time to northern Iraq. The focus this time was on training and further education for parents and pedagogues in the now three refugee camps where the Friends are active. In addition courses were offered at the University of Dohuk.

Parental Advising in the Camps’ Child Friendly Spaces: Parental advising was carried out by Alfred Rahmen (Waldorf pedagogue from Switzerland) and Elisa Löwe (doctor). Altogether about 90 parents, whose children we work with consistently in the Child Friendly Spaces, took part.
The topics which were presented covered various mental and physical aspects of children’s health and their meaning.


  • Fairy-tales and the meaning of good, positive, and cheerful elements in the stories.
  • Music, to encourage the children and to bring them to good thoughts.
  • Painting/drawing and the healing effect, when positive things, like for example the sun, are drawn (negative experiences, which can be expressed in drawing, should always be combined with positive elements).
  • Physical closeness and the meaning of feelings of sympathy, attention, warmth, and love.
  • The value of prayer for taking hold of trust and hope.


  • Children should be kept warm with appropriate clothing.
  • The meaning of good nutrition and the risks associated with too fatty, salty, or sweet foods. Nutrition should be balanced, include fruit and vegetables and water should be offered instead of sweet beverages.

Teacher Continuing Education Courses in the Camp-Schools: Around 70 teachers took place in continuing education course with the theme “The meaning of rhythm”. Features of the course lead by Alfred Rahmen and Elisa Löwe were theoretical and practical parts. 

In the seminar, information was given about the vulnerability of the rhythmical system and the task of rhythmical exercises. How do the various rhythms and their interactions in the rhythmical system function? What is the meaning of the Rubicon and how vulnerable are the (body-) rhythms to just simple stress? How can I stimulate rhythms before and after the Rubicon? In addition, daily rhythms, BRAC, and HRV as well as the meaning of structured time and the difference between rhythm and ritual were discussed.
Moreover an introductory seminar about trauma pedagogy took place led by Minka Görzel-Straube and Reinaldo Nascimento (experiential pedagogue from Brazil), in which about 35 teachers participated.

Seminars at the Uni-Dohuk:
Altogether about 70 students majoring in psychology and social work took part in two seminars led by Minka Görzel-Straube.
The students received an introduction to trauma pedagogy with theoretical and practical elements. The practical parts were lead by four of our local teamers, of whom three live themselves in the camp. All of them were trained over a year by our mission teams in trauma pedagogical methods and use these in the continuous work with the children in the Child Friendly Spaces.

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