The mental issues suffered by displaced women and children disrupts their cognitive and emotional well-being with possible consequences of marginalization, poverty and a lack of economic productivity or worth. Access to appropriate activities to improve their welfare, whilst inclusion in the host society both economically and socially is critical to help in the process of rebuilding an independent, healthy and productive life.
The IMOVE Foundation is a non-profit Organization, which uses dance, creative movement and yoga sessions for refugees and disadvantaged women and children in Syria’s neighboring countries as well as in the Netherlands. Dancing and creative movement help heal conflict-affected women and children to enhance their resilience and emotional well-being as well as facilitate connections within their host societies and to expand their cultural horizon. In a study conducted by an independent party, the majority of participants reported significant benefits of the sessions on the mental, social as well as physical health qualities.
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The foundation was established by Nikita Shahbazi a psychologist, dance movement specialist and mindfulness trainer who experienced the consequences of war and was a refugee herself. Her first-hand experience in the healing powers of dance, as well as her passion to improve the living condition of marginalized people in order to be able to connect with society and enjoy a healthy, productive life, drove her to establish the IMOVE foundation.
Syrian women and children constitute the majority of refugees in Lebanon. Currently, only one in four Syrian refugee children attend school and a large majority of them suffer from post-traumatic stress, anxiety, depression, isolation and marginalization. These issues negatively affect children’s emotional wellbeing and school performance.
In order to enhance the mental wellbeing and emotional resilience of displaced and disadvantaged women and children the foundation has initiated the Move4Syrians project. Through offering dance and yoga to refugees and disadvantaged women and children, IMOVE provides a safe space for healing as well as a chance to connect with others, and possibly envision a brighter future.
As founder of the IMOVE Foundation and someone who experienced the consequences of war Nikita Shahbazi found dance and finding freedom in body to express her feelings invaluable in the process to recover from emotional stress. It helped to build her self-esteem as well as her resilience. Moreover, it gave her tools to negotiate a new identity in a radically new environment. More about Nikita Shahbazi? Read further …