In California’s second largest city, San Diego, IRCT member Survivors of Torture, International (SURVIVORS) has been providing safe haven for thousands of traumatised refugees and asylum seekers since 1997. On 27 February, the US rehabilitation centre celebrated two decades of hard work that has benefitted over 2,000 people seeking to overcome trauma while resettling in a new country.
SURVIVORS is an independent non-profit organisation dedicated to caring for survivors of politically-motivated torture and their families who live in San Diego County. Since its foundation, it has helped torture survivors from over 80 different countries recover from their traumas through a holistic programme that includes mental health, psychiatry, social services, and medical case management. The specialised care the centre provides helps the survivors become self-sufficient and healthy members of their families and of the local community.
With San Diego located just under 200 kilometers from the Mexican border, a high number of the refugees seeking help at SURVIVORS have just arrived in the US. Yet, despite the proximity to Latin America, many of the clients are from the Middle East and Africa, in particular Iraq, Somalia, Ethiopia and Iran.
With an estimated 35,000 torture survivors living in San Diego, there is a great demand for the centre’s services, but limited funding and financial resources make it difficult for SURVIVORS staff to meet this demand. Even so, 500 people - 73 percent of whom are asylum seekers and 19 percent of whom are refugees - now receive its services on a yearly basis. These free-of- charge services include individual therapy, group therapy, “Healing Clubs,” psychiatry, access to medical services and social services. SURVIVORS also offers medical affidavits and psychological evaluations for its asylum seeking clients to support their cases for asylum and it works with a network of contracted therapists and professionals to provide these services throughout San Diego County.
The IRCT would like to congratulate SURVIVORS on celebrating this important milestone:
“I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to our dear friends at SURVIVORS. Working in an environment with a great demand for their services, they have helped thousands of traumatised asylum seekers and refugees navigate and resettle in a new country. What is more, they have given many torture survivors a second chance at life by providing much needed rehabilitation services. It therefore gives me great pleasure to see them celebrate this important anniversary,” says Victor Madrigal-Borloz, Secretary-General of the IRCT.
For more information
Visit SURVIVORS' website here.