University of Haifa International School Student Blog
By Rachel Degutz, a student at the Study Abroad program at the International School.
I am currently taking a course about Refugee Mental Health. We have been focusing on the current situation in Israel in which a lot of refugees come here from Eritrea. The highlight of the course was a trip to the southern Tel Aviv neighborhoods in which these refugees live. We spoke with different organizations that help the refugee community. The first organization was a Eritrean women’s group. They provide a supportive community for each other as they struggle with post traumatic stress and the hardships of moving to a totally new country. It is comforting to know they have created a safe space for each other where they work together to overcome their struggles and find a better life. We also spoke with a government run organization which helps the refugees sort out bureaucratic issues. They also make sure the refugee children are properly taken care of and given an education. For lunch we ate at Kuchinate, an Eritrean restaurant. We scooped up different sauces and salads with Injera bread. This group that runs Kuchinate also sells crocheted baskets. Making them is therapeutic for the Refugee women as well as profitable. Whenever I look at the basket I purchased I will give these women my thoughts and hope they have nothing but success. Overall, the field trip was a great experience to see first hand what we learn about in class. It can be difficult to completely understand all the hardships these refugees endure, but it is important to learn about their situation for understanding a more mature concept of the world.