Beslan counsellors to receive training in Israel


18 February 2005 World ORT has arranged special trauma counselling training in Israel for a group of psychologists who are helping the survivors of the Beslan school massacre. The intensive one-week course will be conducted by Russian-speaking psychologists who have had extensive experience treating the survivors of terrorist attacks during the intifada. In a letter to World ORT Director General Robert Singer, the Deputy Prime Minister of North Ossetia, Oleg Chatzayev, formally accepted the offer of training. On behalf of the people of North Ossetia I would like to express our gratitude to you and all the Jewish people for sharing our pain and for your active participation in helping the victims, Mr Chatzayev said. Welfare professionals in Beslan and surrounding areas are struggling to cope with the magnitude of the massacres consequences for the psychological well-being of the community. They lack the specialist practical experience required to counsel and treat terror-related post-trauma cases and are unfamiliar with the special techniques that have been developed to help affected children and their families. Seven psychologists have been selected to attend the training seminar where they will undertake skill-developing activities such as art therapy and group work using real life case studies. The participants will also be able to benefit from 12 months of ongoing support with their peers in Israel. The training seminar is a direct result of last months meeting at ORT House in London between Mr Singer and the President of the Russian Jewish Congress (RJC), Vladimir Sloutsker. After that meeting, Mr Sloutsker said he wanted to upgrade the Jewish communitys image in Russia. The RJC is paying for nearly half the cost of the project, which is due to take place in March, with the rest coming from private donors including Sir Jack Lyons who had approached ORT wanting to help after Islamist terrorists killed 331 people (172 of them children) at Beslan School No 1 in September last year. World ORT the worlds largest Jewish education and vocational training non-governmental organisation has close connections to the Russian Federation in which North Ossetia is a sovereign republic: it was founded in St Petersburg in 1880 and has built an educational network with more than 25,000 students since returning to the region in 1993 after a Soviet-imposed exile of more than 50 years. Mr Singer: The main humanitarian goal of this project is obviously to help the unfortunate children that were traumatised by the Beslan massacre. In addition, it will help to counter antisemitism throughout the CIS by showing how a Jewish international organisation is prepared to help non-Jews.