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Self-help Groups Strengthen Resilience Wednesday 10 April 2019

Dorcas Ukraine has resumed its psycho-social support (PSS) activities in Donetsk region from March 2019.

In 2018, Dorcas psychologists and social workers traveled to the areas near the contact line where they organized monthly group meetings with the population to discuss different topics relevant to their daily life. It was an opportunity for people to learn, express themselves, listen to each other and build stronger and closer communities with mutual understanding. The psycho-social support was provided to the most vulnerable people in combination with multi-purpose cash assistance or livelihood grants. The monthly meetings were open for everyone interested to attend.

In 2019, building on the existing relationships with the communities, Dorcas psychologists and social workers started self-help groups to continue helping the population to become more resilient. Five of the most active participating locations from the previous year were identified for the creation of these self-help groups. In each location, two or three of the most active participants of the previous year’s PSS activities singed themselves up to be volunteers in helping to organize and lead these self-help groups in their own town.

In March 2019, these volunteers from five different towns were invited by Dorcas for a day of training and bonding with each other and Dorcas staff. On that day they heard more about Dorcas, the PSS plans for 2019 and how their contribution could look like in practice. The atmosphere was very friendly and exciting, and people looked forward to contributing to the creation of the self-help groups in their towns. The volunteers are actively involved in designing this project (choosing the topics to be discussed) as well as leading the self-help groups.

Before each self-help meeting, Dorcas psychologist and social worker gather together with the volunteers of that town to discuss the topic and plan the meeting. By involving beneficiaries in PSS project design, selection of topics, and the leading of the self-help groups, Dorcas aims to make the psycho-social support self-sustainable, build stronger communities and motivate people to strengthen their resilience.