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May 8, 2014 11:01 pm

Israeli NGO Trains Counselors Working With North Korean Refugees

avatar by Alina Dain Sharon /

The North Korean flag. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Times of Israel article showcases Israeli NGO IsraAid’s involvement with helping international groups and people treat North Korean refugees who have escaped or were smuggled out to South Korea.

IsraAid representatives train counselors how to interact with the refugees and how to teach them to exist in a democratic society in which they can say what they want and live how they want.

“Whether we’re doing therapy or not doing therapy, it’s important for anyone who works with refugees, all of whom have had traumatic experiences, to understand the theory of trauma, war and displacement, and to know how to approach each individually at the level at which they are functional emotionally,” said Sheri Oz, a Haifa-based therapist and IsraAid volunteer.

Much of the training focuses on nonverbal treatment through mediums such as art, music, or movement.

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“We’re not therapists, and we don’t have mental health training…  So it’s very helpful just to have a context for what some of our clients are experiencing, or may have experienced,” said Annie, a woman working for LINK: Liberty in North Korea, a U.S.-based NGO that rescues North Korean refugees.

Read more about these organizations and their important work here.

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