Sophie McCann is a program director and advocate with experience in international development and human rights advocacy in the UK and internationally. She specializes in refugee and migrants’ rights and community-based mental health and gender programming. Sophie is part of the Lamp Lifeboat Ladder team focusing on organizational development and communications.
A Summer Update
As we enter the fall – in the northern hemisphere at least – we at Lamp Lifeboat Ladder have plenty to reflect upon following a packed summer schedule of legal work, accompaniment, creative thinking and strategic planning.
During June, July and August, 20 members of our team from Jordan, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Greece and Egypt travelled to Athens to support survivors, work on cases, meet with partners and plan for the next stages of the programme. Our team comprised lawyers, doctors, a psychologist, our Jordan and Greece field coordinators, our directors and other experts.
This trip provided an opportunity for the team members to meet in person following the easing of COVID restrictions and together reflect on the past year – with the aim of building on our many successes and better understanding and learning from the challenges we’ve faced. Some of the highlights of the trip include:
- Our legal-medical team spent time with survivors of torture and sexual violence living in Greece, carrying out interviews and developing their legal cases to be submitted to the Canadian Government in the coming months.
- Our holistic accompaniment team worked with survivors to provide wrap-around support including providing safe housing, accompaniment to medical appointments and other help. For most people seeking safety, the situation in Greece is unfortunately hostile and many people who have survived torture or sexual violence are facing homelessness or housing insecurity, and difficulty accessing appropriate medical and mental health care and legal support.
We spoke with Lamp Lifeboat Ladder’s Survivors Council, which is a group of 12 survivors in the project – some of whom are in Jordan and some resettled in Canada - who are co-designing Lamp Lifeboat Ladder. They tell us what they, and other survivors, need to rebuild their lives and provide vital insight and direction into what the programme should look like. In order to strengthen and develop our survivor led approach our director of survivor engagement, Kolbassia worked with some of the French-speaking survivors in the project – in Greece and Canada - to learn from their insights and experience and start developing their leadership roles.
We spent time discussing and defining what we understand by ‘holistic accompaniment’ and what that looks like at Lamp Lifeboat Ladder. We shared our different experiences of accompanying survivors in different countries with the aim to develop the strongest possible model for providing holistic accompaniment for survivors in Greece, Jordan, Canada and around the world. We talked about what it means to be survivor-led and how we can ensure Lamp Lifeboat Ladder strengthens and develops its survivor led and centred approach.
We participated in a variety of interactive sessions, including a training on cross-generational trauma, responding to crises, vicarious trauma and self-care, power dynamics and privilege and what it means to be survivor-led, aimed at improving our understanding of these critical topics and harmonising our global approach.
We met with our partners Melissa Network, Médecins Sans Frontières, the Canadian Ambassador to Greece and several donors, updating them about Lamp Lifeboat Ladder’s work and together discussing our plans for the coming year.
Whilst we were in Athens, we also had some fantastic news: another family living in Jordan had been approved to resettle in Canada! This family has been part of the project for several years, bringing crucial insights and wisdom into Lamp Lifeboat Ladder’s programme development, as well as joy and laughter. They’re thrilled to be continuing their journey to Canada.
All in all, we had a very rich and productive trip and look forward to keeping you updated on the continuation of these discussions and our next steps!
Help us aid refugees who have survived torture and trauma to discover a new life by supporting their relocation to Canada.