In response to the Covid-19 crisis and the rising need for mental health support in communities*, a collaborative psychosocial project has been launched by passionate nonprofit organisations in the Cape Winelands.

The project’s objective is to empower frontline relief workers, social workers, teachers, aftercare staff and nonprofit employees who have contact with families during the crisis and lockdown period.

Two workshops were developed by Sp(i)eel Arts Therapies Collective and Good Hope Psychological Service to equip delegates with the basic psychosocial knowledge and tools to support their beneficiaries and clients. The resources are not only valuable to help the families in need, but also to build their own team’s resilience as part of the “care for the caregiver” approach.

Workshop Details and Objectives

The workshops aim to reduce the development of trauma symptoms and to limit emotional distress during the early intervention of the current crisis. The content entails:

Workshop 1: Story-making for resilience

The first training session focused on offering a story-making tool in an experiential workshop as a means to strengthen individual and group resilience and combat trauma and burn-out.

Workshop 2: Trauma and crisis support

The second session focused on sharing theoretical knowledge on resilience and empowering ground-workers with the knowledge to identify and help families in need of psychosocial support during the crisis.

We Ezrah, are the initiator of the project and we have invited Valcare, Sp(i)eel Arts Therapies Collective and Good Hope Psychological Service to join hands in empowering community workers.

The first phase of the project saw delegates from the Drakenstein Child Protection Steering Group attending the two workshops via Zoom. They also received guides and toolkits to implement the skills within their respective staff teams and communities.

For the second phase, organisations from Valcare’s Mercy Women Empowerment Coordinated Effort will be invited to receive the training either via Zoom or in-person, depending on the context.

Encouraging feedback from delegates so far:

“Thank you so much for this great and supportive initiative and the wonderful tools, we really appreciate the time and effort and your caring approach.”

“These tools can help us a lot in our work with colleagues and clients (mothers, children, educators) to discover and confirm their identity, value and purpose.”

“I was reminded of the value of storytelling.”

“The content was perfect; informative and implementable.”

“I enjoyed the workshop very much.” It gave me a lovely practical tool for my sessions. The guide is powerful.”

I am very excited about the guide with arts-based activities that are linked with the 3 Rs of trauma response and the building of resilience. I believe it can be used well within our in-school service where children are seen on a weekly basis for emotional and academic support as well as in our primary caregiver groups and individual sessions.”

The Power of the Human Connection

Collaboration is key in having a holistic approach to responding to the psychosocial needs of the community. In collaborating and in learning together, we are stronger and can have a deeper impact. We salute all the collaborators for their hard work to make the project so successful and look forward to some great community stories of strength, hope and resilience as a result of empowering the ground-workers on the frontline,” says Mariëtte Jacobs, MD of Ezrah Community Training and Development NPC.

Both during the preparation and presentation of these workshops I was touched by the capacity and desire for the human spirit to want to reach out and connect to each other, especially during difficult times. Despite the challenges presented by an online platform and developing a new project without ever meeting in person, we found universal themes in our stories, moments of shared laughter and tears and a bonding around the creative tasks that affirms we are stronger together and left me with a sense of hope and gratitude for what is possible under extreme circumstances,” Marlize Swanepoel, Sp(i)eel Arts Therapies Collective.


By | July 14th, 2020