Achieving Peace of Mind through Psychosocial Activities for Migrants in Niger

Published Date: 
Thu, 09/12/2019 - 00:30
Country: 
Niger

Niamey – This past Sunday (08/09), IOM partnered with local association Londi and organized its first monthly nature walk in the outskirts of Niamey for the migrants staying at IOM’s transit center for unaccompanied migrant children, with support from the European Union, within the framework of the Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism.

The LONDI association has been promoting for over 10 years the possibility of achieving a stress-free life through physical activities. To fight sedentariness and daily stress, the association organizes the monthly nature walk “Marche dans la Nature” (MADANA), under the guidance of their team of physiotherapists and psychologists.

“Our goal at Londi is to help people realize their full mental and physical potential. We consider this to be the basis of any individual’s well-being,” says Ali Kimba Samba, president of the Londi association. “Being able to bring some comfort today to these teenagers who are mentally exhausted from their experiences along the route, brings a smile to our faces and encourages us to further improve our activities,” he adds.

Many migrants transiting through IOM’s transit centers may face mental trauma, which is generally the result of harsh experiences encountered during their migratory experiences, ranging from the confiscation of their personal possessions to the smugglers abandoning them along the route. During their stay at IOM’s transit centers, the uncertainty about their future tends to reinforce these negative feelings.

“These daytrips are important because we don’t always have the opportunity to interact with the migrants staying at the center outside our regular activities,” said Ismael, one of the community mobilizers who participated in the hike. “These activities strengthen the trust we build with the migrants on a daily basis.”

This month, over 20 unaccompanied migrant children from IOM’s transit center in Niamey joined the walk, accompanied by five community mobilizers who ensured that the migrants were comfortable every step of the way.

“It wasn’t easy, but I ran all 8 kilometers today. For me, it's important to regularly engage in physical activities because it improves my state of mind,” says Amadou, 16, from Guinea-Conakry. “I feel really tired now, but I would definitely do it again; hopefully, I can finish first next time.”

IOM, through its psychosocial assistance, provides migrants with the opportunity to seek individual psychosocial support, participate in group therapy, and engage in recreational activities. Social, cultural and educational events are regularly organized by protection staff and IOM’s community mobilizers in order to break through this negative spiral and promote general well-being.

“Our psychosocial activities with migrants are an important component of our protection assistance,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger. “Many of the migrants assisted at our transit centers have experienced difficult moments along their migration journeys and we want to make sure that they are able acquire peace of mind during their stay in Niger and have a smooth transition to their country of origin.”

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger at Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email: mchiriac@iom.int.