15 Feb PHI: GIVING LISTENING EARS TO THE IDPs
One of the things we have found out in our work with the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the different states in Nigeria is that they desire to talk to someone. Their hearts long to share their stories. They want to let out the pain, the sorrows and the tough experiences they have been through. This is one of the first and major things we do when we get to a new IDP camp. We carry out an assessment or baseline survey of the camp. Through these assessments, we get to hear their stories, find out their present conditions at the camp, what their needs are and so on. It is in this process that we ask questions and take the position of a listener.
It might interest you to know that what they have placed so much value on, is not the potential help we intend to provide, but the fact they can let out their hearts to us. One of the IDPs in Sabo Kuchingoro camp in Abuja told us that, “After spending time to talk to you about myself, I feel much better. I feel lighter.”
Our most recent assessment was done in Wassa IDP camp in Abuja and Kugbaru IDP camp in Nassarawa State. This was in collaboration with Systems Integrate Inc and Smile Again Africa Initiative. This was a newly discovered IDP camp, so we had to visit to know how we can be of help to them. In the past we have provided welfare packages such as clothes, food items, shoes etc., free medical care, which usually involves a team of, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, medical laboratory scientist, dentists, and optometrists. We get to know how to specifically intervene when we ask questions through assessments and listening to them.
A constant thing that happens is that the PHI team leave these IDP camps speechless and sober. Their mood is usually a reflection of the pain, hardship and loses these people had suffered. Unfortunately, the IDPs are going through a lot at their various camps. They need us to help share in their burdens. You too can be a part of the team that listens and intervenes.