Chechen Refugee Camps and Education
Chechen Refugee Camps and Education
The creation of schools is one of the leading ways to produce hope and stability in refugee camps. Many would love to go to school because, currently they have no other option, but to teach themselves. Refugees can recall having great memories of their past school experiences, which they use as motivation to continue to learn. On account of my involvement with a refugee relief organization, I have been assigned the job of creating schools in the Chechen refugee camps of Chechnya. The primary means of survival and daily focus for these refugees have been through humanitarian aid. That assistance is made up of shelter, clothing, food, and basic necessities. Securing those fundamental desiderata for the camps has been a priority for continued existence.
The steps for prosperous implementation of an education program are presented and discussed. When we look at successful communities, countries and cultivation, training is a key component to meet the immediate needs of its members and plan for long term sustainability and emergence for hereafter generations. According to Yusupov (2012), “when lack of educational opportunities comes into play, the very heart and foundation of communities begins to crumble and the ability to nurture and feed its residents is seriously at risk”(p.1). Everyone has the ambition and potential to become better, but without an education at what point can they start. Three Topics I Would Like to Better Understand Before Beginning the Project
The final objective of the Chechens is to return to their country and homes day. It would be wise for the Russians and Chechens to make sure that everyone within the camp is very well educated so that they can be effective once they return home. It is important for the Chechens to be able to support their families, and that their children grow up educated, productive community citizens without the threat of future displacement to refugee camps. The development of an education system in the refugee camps is an impressive yet intimidating task. For that reason, the three things that I would like to understand before obligating me to this project are:
1) How long are the refugee camps offered as a necessary placement for the Chechens to be located in,
2) How and when can I start compiling data on the education levels of all the refugees within the camp on the different subjects of reading, writing and math,
3) How would I start to find out the mental health problems of those due to the traumatic change in environment and lose of identity,
4) I would have to find suitable teachers, buildings, and who will be funding the program. Hopefully, there are suitable buildings because this will be another expense we would have to look at for funding purposes. Having a psychologist within the school would also help tremendously because many students need the counseling. All of these items are needed in order to get things in order for the start of the project. Of course, there will be other things that I would like to better understand, but those will come up in the progress of the work. Ethnocentric Challenges That May Arise When Planning the Project There have been ongoing and unresolved issues among the Russians and Chechens for many years. According to DeWaal (2002), “Russians believe that Islam has maintained a stronghold in Chechnya communities for many years”(p.1). The fighting has coerced Chechens into refugee camps, while trying to hold onto their cultures, traditions, and customs while surviving in very difficult conditions.
With their surroundings already so violent and each group is trying to maintain their way of living, it creates frictions and ethnocentricity ways may arise. Culturally, it is known that Chechens is very ethnocentric. One of the ethnocentric challenges that I may encounter while planning the project is the attitudes of the Russians being so high because of the Chechens ethnocentrism. With all the work that I would have to do, am I able to give the dreams and desires to the consumers of the project.
Is ethnocentrism such a challenge that it may inhibit the development of positive relationships between the Chechens and Russians to the point that the project would be in peril? With the school being such a positive influence in their community, I would have high hopes that they would agree to disagree and come to and understanding among each other. Many of the Chechens would be so happy that they have a place to call home they would not worry about the animosity, but the Russians probably would not let down their guard to reconcile. Discussion of Types of Questions a Researcher Would Ask
As the implementation plan for the development of an educational system in Chechen refugee camps begins to formulate, the types of questions I would ask are: 1) For both the parents and children, what are your dreams and desires for when you return home, 2) What subjects in school do you like the most and which do you like the least, 3) For project design, given the large numbers of refugees in camps, what is the most strategic way to design, implement and sustain an educational system, 4) Have attempts been made in the past to develop an educational system and, if so, what kept them from happening and becoming successful. Sukarieh and Tannock state that a large number of researchers and social service people visit the refugee camps, interviewed the residents, and rarely follow through on promises made (Sukarieh & Tannock, 2012).
Finally, it is a key element to secure data and information related to the levels of trauma and psychological stress of the children in the refugee camps in order to assess readiness for education, exams, and ability to learn. There have been both short and long term impact of trauma on refugee children, and the mental health of children in refugee camps (Rosseau, Measham, Nadeau, 2012). These same authors found that schools can be an impetus for change and partner in the psychological healing of traumatized children in refugee camps; assisting in the detection of mental health issues because parents and other family members trust schools and teachers enough to disclose that type of personal information with them.
Sensitive introductory work must take place before the preliminary plan can be devised to develop, implement, and maintain an educational system in Chechen refugee camps. Many refugee residents have experienced a lack of educational opportunities for months or even years since their schools were destroyed by bombings and shelling’s over the course of the two wars. Preparing the camp citizens for the educational experience, and revitalizing or developing the skill sets necessary for school success, will be a major aspect of the preliminary work of project development. Promises have been made and broken related to the possibility of bringing formal education to the refugee camps, bringing disappointment and sadness to the lives of young children and parents alike.
Camp residents are wary of any similar plans, but are welcoming and anxious to have education available for anyone who desires to participate. It is necessary to know more about the promises made and broken by camp visitors, in order to begin to build trust and confidence that I can execute this plan for the refugees. Becoming immersed in the daily life, schedules and activities of the refugee camp residents will begin to build trust, and afford opportunities for discussion and gathering of data. At that time, it will be critical to engage key refugee camp leaders in the discussion, planning and development of the camps so they begin to take ownership in the project and create the impetus for hope and stability amongst the refugees. Accomplishing all these goals would allow my project to become a success and give Chechens refugee camps the ability to learn and become successful.
De Waal, T. (2002). Greetings from Gozny. Fighting for Chechnya: Is Islam a factor? Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/greetings-from-grozny/fighting-for-chechnya-is-islam-a-factor/3078/ Rousseau, C., Measham, T., & Nadeau, L. (2012). Addressing trauma in collaborative mental health care for refugee children. Retrieved from http://ccp.sagepub.com/content/18/1/121 Sukarieh, M. & Tannock, S. (2012). On the problem of over-researched communities: The case of the Shatila Palestinian Refugee Camp in Lebanon. Retrieved from http://soc.sagepub.com/content/47/3/494 Yusupov, M. (2012). The social situation in the Chechen Republic: Problems and trends. Retrieved from http://www.saferworld.org.uk/downloads/