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Science and Arts Foundation News: First Bam Anniversary Held

Source: SAFNewsletter No. 43, December 2004


In the aftermath of the tragic December 2003 Bam earthquake, the Science and Arts Foundation planned and implemented a number of programs aimed at both the psychosocial rehabilitation and ICT training of Bam's children (see Programs provided by SAF and its sponsors included the establishment of a temporary computer center, a paint shop, music/drama programs and English courses. While the skills taught in these programs were themselves practical and constructive, their most important feature was the renewed energy and enthusiasm they instilled among the traumatized youth of Bam. As part of SAF's program, Dr. Kamran Saedi, a consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist based in London and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK with disaster work experience in Kosovo and Cambodia, made a fact finding trip to Bam on behalf of SAF in February/March 2004. It became clear to Dr. Saedi that while teachers had to provide schooling as a consistent environment for children, they themselves suffered traumatisation and were unable to cope and/or deal effectively with the demands of their work. As a result, a psychosocial rehabilitation program, supported by SAF and funded by CISCO and World Vision, has been created to address the needs of the teachers themselves and to support their efforts to help children with their traumatisation (see below). In addition to the above projects, a number of exhibitions and concerts have displayed the children's work to both national and international audiences. In the summer of 2004, drawings and paintings created by Bam children participating in SAF's paint shop were exhibited at both iEARN's 11th Annual Global Teachers' Meeting in Kosice, Slovakia and the Children of Bam Art Exhibition in Vienna, Austria. Later, in October 2004, the Science and Arts Foundation's Children of Bam Music Ensemble performed their first concert in Tehran at the Vahdat Concert Hall. The performing group consisted of 21 children, 14 girls and 7 boys.

While SAF will continue to provide the above services in the year to come, plans are in progress for the establishment of a permanent ICT and Psychosocial Rehabilitation Center. This center will be built under the leadership of the Science and Arts Foundation with support from Bam's Department of Education and several sponsors.


The Science and Arts Foundation's pilot project of psychosocial rehabilitation of the traumatized teachers of Bam began in Bam on 4th December 2004. For this program, ten Mental Health Professionals (MHP), comprised of psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, were appointed and trained in a week long course in Tehran between the 27th of November and the 2nd of December 2004. Training was led by Dr. Kamran Saedi, Dr Lynette Rentoul and Dr Shiva Dowlatabadi. The program consisted of two rounds of group counseling. In the first round, 82 teachers from 7 primary, guidance, secondary and pre- university schools participated in the psychosocial rehabilitation program and 78 completed the two week intensive group counseling course. Based on individual questionnaires provided by the MHP team, fifteen teachers were selected for individual treatment that included psychotherapy and/or medication. All teachers, including those receiving individual treatment, were organized into 10 groups, each consisting of 8 to 11 teachers and two facilitators from the MHP team. In addition, daily two-hour supervision sessions were held to discuss the progress in group work and address difficulties as they arose. On a 5 point self-rating scale based on course effectiveness (1 being no improvement and 5 being very significant improvement), all but one teacher gave a 3-5 point rating. The second round of group counseling started on the 18th of December 2004 and will last until the 4th of January 2005, allowing four days of break for the anniversary of the Earthquake. The next phase of the project is the development of a support network for teachers of Bam. SAF is now appealing for further funds to organize the support network for teachers and for extending the program to all 1800 teachers in Bam.


The Science and Arts Foundation has designed a Web Design Course for Tehran's SchoolNet members. The Web Design Course is a 32 hour program divided into weekly four hour sessions. Currently, the program is in progress at Sharif University of Technology attended by SchoolNet administrators. In addition, these weekly classes serve as informal meetings and discussion groups for the administrators.


A one day seminar will be held on January 20th 2004 at Roshd16 Boy's High School for Tehran's SchoolNet members. The SchoolNet SchooLinux e-Club has been evolving since its initiation and more development of Linux programs for schools across the nation have been placed on the agenda for 2005. This seminar will be held in cooperation with Tehran's Educational Department ICT R&D Center. Moreover, SAF is in the process of developing a special Linux distribution project for schools called SchooLiux with support from the Iranian High Council of Informatics.

... Payvand News - 12/31/04 ... --

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