We’ve just launched a fundraising campaign to try and raise £30,000 to build an extension to the first floor of the ReVive house. There’s loads more information about it plus a video and info about how you can get involved over on the ReVive Extension’s webpage – just look for the link in the menu!
After sharing with you all the process of enrolling a girl into a new school, another important component in the daily life of ReVive is the role of the psychologist and the psychological treatment that the girls receive whilst they are with us. When a new girl arrives at ReVive, sometimes the results of the abuse may be visible particularly if it has been physical. However, the girl will also have experienced severe psychological damage, which isn’t always easy to see or understand and can come in many different forms. The task of working with the ReVive girls in this area lies with Erika, our resident psychologist. She works at ReVive specifically to help give these girls the treatment they need in order to try and come to terms with the abuse they have suffered.
The first thing that our psychologist does when a new girl arrives is to arrange a time for the two of them to meet and have an initial conversation, a ‘getting to know you’ session where trust is established. A contract is made at the start of the treatment to establish that what is said in the room during the sessions is strictly confidential and that Erika will only use what she thinks will help the girls in their case when writing up reports for the social services. Once these initial sessions have begun, Erika will allow the girls to start talking about the abuse that they have suffered. More often than not they will eventually give a full account of everything from a very young age right up to the time that they came to live at ReVive. Our psychologist talks to the girls in groups as well as individually, using a variety of activities to work with the girls depending on their age.
The role of the psychologist also extends beyond the treatment sessions at ReVive. Once a new girl has arrived at ReVive, our psychologist will conduct an initial home visit. This is to see the situation where the girl comes from and meet family members, who are often the aggressors themselves. She will also conduct follow up visits during the time that the girl is with us. Erika will also accompany the girls to a variety of other places including medical check-ups and hearings with the judge. As someone who spends a lot of time with the girls, Erika is a vital part of our work with the judge and the social services to determine their future.
In some cases, certain girls will receive treatment outside of ReVive with other psychologists. This is because Erika believes that these girls have very specific needs and require another space where they can talk to someone completely separate from ReVive. Sometimes this process can enable the girls to open up more about certain issues because they don’t have the same relationship with this psychologist that they have with Erika.
Finally, one of the most important parts of the role of our psychologist is to prepare the girls for the outside world. These girls will not stay at ReVive forever so part of the treatment they receive is to come to terms with and feel more at peace with what has happened to them in the past so they can move forward with restored lives and renewed hope for the future.
We are currently finalising plans to build an extension on the side of the ReVive house. Part of this will include a new room specifically designed for our psychologist Erika so she can continue to work closely with the girls in a safe space. If you are interested in helping us to reach our budget, you can donate via our campaign or email us for the ReVive bank details.
Daily life at ReVive has been extremely busy over the past couple of months, one of the highlights of course being the British Ambassador’s visit to the ReVive house at the end of February. It was a privilege to receive him along with the British Consul and other representatives from the Consulate and Embassy.
Preparations started a few days in advance, when we were very pleased to receive word that the Ambassador had personally requested that he visit ReVive on his next trip to Recife. The girls spent a lot of time preparing the house and even made some bunting with Naomi, one of our most recent volunteers! The Ambassador, Alex Ellis, arrived with British Consul Graham Tidey and immediately sat down to introduce themselves and get to know all the girls and staff.
The ReVive girls were very keen to show the Ambassador around the house and had a great time playing a few rounds of French Cricket and some parachute games in the sunshine. Afterwards it was time to settle down with some afternoon tea and cake, whilst the Ambassador spent more time talking with the girls and answering questions about life in the UK. We even convinced some of the girls to try some Yorkshire tea but even with milk, the girls weren’t very impressed!
Overall it was a lovely afternoon, the British Ambassador said that he absolutely loved visiting ReVive and it was something from different from what he is used to doing. It was a great chance to spread awareness of the work of ReVive in Olinda , and hopefully this will spark more of a relationship between ReVive and the British government in Brazil. We are already looking forward to taking part in commemorating 90 years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign with the British Consulate in June so stay tuned!