Trauma Informed Schools

About the Project

This project is one of the 2021 WISE Awards winners. 


Context and Issue 

Approximately 3.6 million Syrian refugees are registered under temporary protection in Turkey, of which 1 million are of school-age. As part of the MoNE’s integration policy, Syrian children gradually began to transition from Temporary Education Centers to Turkish public schools in 2017. However, there were obstacles due to the refugee children’s traumatic experiences from forced migration, war traumas, peer-to-peer violence in and around school, discrimination, language barriers, and widespread early and forced marriage practices which posed great challenges to their inclusive and peaceful integration into the public education system.


Solution and Impact

The Trauma Informed Schools (TIS) program aims to promote trauma-informed education within Turkish public schools and transform these schools into a safe space for children suffering from traumatic experiences. The intervention applies a multi-pronged approach targeting the children and the entire community surrounding them, including their caregivers, teachers, school administrators and school counsellors. Through trainings and workshops with educational staff and caregivers, there is better detection of children’s psychological problems and healthy interventions are implemented. Teachers, counselors and parents develop skills to support the socio-emotional wellbeing of children through a trauma-sensitive approach. Arts-based PSS sessions in target classrooms help students develop coping skills, improving psychosocial wellbeing and reducing bullying creating a stable and understanding environment for all.

Between October 2019 and September 2020 TIS directly reached 5,216 children (1,467 Syrian, 2,749 Turkish), 406 teachers and 190 caregivers in Istanbul and Sanliurfa provinces through face-to-face and online activities. During the pandemic, we also developed an accessible video for children in Arabic and Turkish and activity books for children and teachers which were published on the MoNE’s online education system used by over 18m students and thousands of teachers.


Future Developments 

Maya Vakfi wants to expand its TIS program in Turkey into other provinces such as Mersin, Izmir, Gaziantep, Kilis and Hatay where there are similar needs, and also into other refugee heavy populations worldwide, including mainly Jordan and Lebanon, through sharing best practices, dissemination of materials with other public education systems.

May 05, 2021 (last update 03-08-2022)