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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 34-49

Iraqi refugees in Jordan research their own living conditions: ’we only have our faith and families to hold on to’

Ph.D., is a German–Jordanian clinical psychologist. Since 1990, she has worked with refugees and other victims of war, and peacetime, trauma in Germany, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine and Armenia, and advised national and international NGOs and UN organizations on policy, strategy, programme and project development for trauma prevention, early intervention and rehabilitation. She is also the co-founder of the Amman - based AL HIMAYA Foundation for Trauma Recovery, Growth and Resilience, a regional resource centre for research, training, consultation and service development

Correspondence Address:
Josi Salem-Pickartz
P.O.Box 15011, HKJ Amman 11134 – Jordan, Mobile: 00962-79-5556155

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Thirty-six Iraqi refugees designed and conducted a community survey among their fellow refugees in Amman/Jordan in July 2007, as part of the 2007/08 CARE International Refugee Programme in Jordan1. The survey aimed to capture their living conditions from a community mental health perspective, with a special focus on gender based violence, and to identify resources for community development initiatives. Three hundred and fifty-four Iraqis, between the age of 10 and 86 years, were interviewed through a mixture of institution based and ‘snowball’ sampling. This article highlights the general challenges to studying temporary communities under distress, and the special obstacles to gathering valid and reliable information on sensitive topics, such as violence, in a situation of pervasive fear and mistrust. The main findings are presented and discussed with regard to projects and activities that can strengthen refugee communities' mental health.

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