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Esra’s Story – Sharing in Common Experience for Psycho-Social Wellness

In programs by Lauren Simcic

This December SPI proudly launched its first Youth Language, Mentorship and Psycho-Social Awareness Program through the support of World Bank Group in collaboration with Robert College, and psychological consultant Eman Zaki.

For our internal psycho-social program launch activity, program facilitator Naz Sağlam worked with psychological consultant Eman Zaki’s help to develop an activity that would engage students to access their memories, reflect on shared experiences, and begin to discuss positive elements of their new lives in Istanbul. The children were asked to think about and share with the group the positive things in their lives despite the difficulties they have faced.

To introduce the subject, Esra, a student in the class, prepared a story in which she discussed how she’s overcome struggles in moving to Turkey and reflected on the positive aspects of her new life. At first, Esra was nervous to read her personal story aloud.

After some silly group warm up activities and receiving supportive words from her peers, Esra gained the confidence to share her story and overcame her first public speaking experience. Her story’s message ended on a positive note, as she verbalized her view that we are given opportunity to begin again.

The children were asked to give feedback to the storyteller and discuss what they thought about the story. The students responded that they enjoyed her story and seemed to connect with the thoughts she shared.

The students then took part in the Love Circle activity where each child came to the center of the circle one by one to answer the question “What are the things you love about your new life?” At the beginning most of them were silent and did not know how to answer the question. The active participants’ answers helped them to think and talk about the subject. Some of the students had difficulty to come into the circle and list the things they love, but as the students became more engaged in listening to one another each participant managed to take part through the support of their peers.

The activity was new for the students and give insight that there are always good things in our new circumstances if we have a positive outlook, like the last words of Esra’s story “..life never ends, you can always start over again.”


About the Author

Lauren Simcic

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Communications and Fundraising Coordinator

Collaborator

Naz Sağlam

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Turkish Program Coordinator

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