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EMERGENCY AID AND REHABILITATION FOR FLOOD AREAS IN NORTH RHINE-WESTPHALIA AND RHINELAND-PALATINATE

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IsraAID Germany e. V., together with the Central Welfare Board of Jews in Germany (ZWST) responded to the devastating flood disaster in West Germany in July 2021 by setting up an emergency aid project. The project was divided into two phases: 1) emergency aid and 2) rehabilitation.
In phase 1, the project met the victims´ immediate needs with acute emergency aid in the form of restoration of apartments and infrastructure. Volunteers with a refugee background from IsraAID Germany leadership groups from all over Germany travelled to the disaster area to perform relief operations. Together with local volunteers from mainstream society, the refugee community and the Jewish community, the affected communities were supported in the clean-up work and through the distribution of relief and basic consumer goods.
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In addition, the project provided psychological first aid (PFA) and psychosocial support (PSS) through art therapy to reduce stress and to offer support to the people in coping with their traumatic experience. Furthermore, the project team offered advice on strengthening community resilience, which, in turn, contributes to strengthening the operational effectiveness of  local service providers and helpers.

The transition to Phase 2 was initiated with a commitment to rehabilitation. The project supports the rehabilitation process through long-term relief campaigns to the sustainable support of the reconstruction work necessary on housing and infrastructure, using primarily local volunteers. The focus is on empowering the local population by establishing a structure for regional volunteers and community empowerment.
The rehabilitation process is accompanied by a psychosocial support service from PSS specialists, who offer training for helpers and support in coping with what they have experienced (PTSD). Art therapy classes offered to children and adults support this process and help to reduce stress.
 
Goals

  • Acute emergency aid

  • Restoration of housing and infrastructureDistribution of basic necessities

  • Psychological first--aid and long-term psychosocial support of the rehabilitation process

Sustainable embedding of IsraAID Germany's flood aid in local structures
 

Our aim is to hand over all suitable services into local hands at the end of our flood relief. As this is not always or only to a limited extent possible, we are increasingly offering training for other service providers (local NGOs, schools, associations, etc.) in 2023. By transferring our know-how, we want to strengthen local structures and ensure that the end of our flood relief does not create a gap when our services cease to exist.

WHERE DO WE CURRENTLY OFFER OUR ACTIVITIES?

The community Swisttal in North Rhine-Westphalia and the district Ahrwhiler right in Rhineland-Palatinate are the main project areas.
OUR OFFERS AT A GLANCE
 
Art therapy activities for children and adults
Jugendprojekt Empowerment

Our art therapists offer various art therapy supported programs at different locations. The art therapy programs support participants in the following areas: - Processing of experienced events Promotion of creativity and self-efficacy - Understanding of one's own emotions and regulation of them - Stress reduction - Exchange with other affected individuals Strengthening of resources We have worked/are working at the following locations and institutions: - Primary schools Nursing homes - Support of associations Children and youth centers - Children and adult groups in Odendorf If you are interested in art therapy support, please contact us by email or phone.

With "Swist & Me", we offer an empowerment project that supports young people from the Swist Valley to become active as a group(s) and to get involved in topics of their own choice. The floods of 2021 also had strong social consequences and it is both a challenge and an opportunity to start and support young peoples' empowerment. In general, there are sometimes intergenerational divides in our society, also in rural areas. The project wants to work out which social problems exist from the youth's point of view and how they can be tackled. The project thrives on diversity of opinion and respect for each other and is not politically affiliated with any camp or group.

Theater project for children in Odendorf
Charity Events (Community Events)

Since March 2022, IsraAID Germany has been offering a theatre and dance programme for children between the ages of 8 and 14 in Odendorf (Swisttal, NRW). After an introductory course in which the children were able to take the basics and have fun playing theatre, IsraAID Germany now offers a long-running and continuous theatre and dance workshop. The group meets regularly every two weeks to work on the scenes for the play and to practise dance choreographies. The group is supported by dance and theatre teachers who teach the children under professional guidance. In addition to the concentrated development of the play, games and exercises on the topic of voice, posture and theatrical presentation loosen up the workshop units. In a protected space, the children can get to know themselves better, develop their strengths and test themselves. The project is led by staff from IsraAID Germany in cooperation with volunteers from the fields of education and theatre.

On a regular basis, the team of IsraAID Germany organises events that benefit the affected population. From children's parties, village festivals, scavenger hunts, to artistic workshops such as theatre workshops and handicrafts, and much more. These offers are intended to give those affected the opportunity to take a break for a few hours, as well as to motivate children and young people and raise their awareness of other offers. The events take place at various locations and are organised by IsraAID Germany in cooperation with local partner organisations and institutions.

“This is a thank you to all of Germany because my life was saved here and my illness was cured. Here I was able to build a new life for myself. And I'm always willing to help to show my gratitude."

Bshesh (28), from Kurdistan/ Iraq – volunteer
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