New refugee program comes to UVM

In response to the ongoing issue of the effects of torture and other human rights violations on the lives of thousands of Vermont refugees, the New England Survivors of Torture and Trauma have given many refugees support through a new program through UVM called Connecting Cultures.

Connecting Cultures was founded in 2007, according to the NESTT website.

UVM psychology professor Karen Fondacaro created the program.

Now, with the support of UVM faculty and students, refugees in Vermont will be given much needed community and clinical aid for dealing with torture, according to the UVM website for Connecting Cultures.

“The overall goal is to provide survivors of torture with holistic, integrated and effective services in a culturally relevant, client-centered context,” the NESTT website stated. Connecting Cultures will combine community outreach, clinical research and aid in order to provide refugees with psychological assessments and therapy.

Dealing with past torture is a huge problem for refugees all over the country, according to the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs website.

10 to 30 percent of all refugees in the United States have been tortured, according to the website.  There have been global and national efforts to combat the lasting effects of torture, and  one of the ways is through resettlement.

“It is horrendous that people have to relive that every day that they are here. They should feel safe mentally as well as physically,” sophomore Emma Archibald said.

The program is a branch of the Behavior Therapy and Psychotherapy Center within the University. For 40 years, the center has aided those struggling mentally and emotionally.

Connecting Cultures has connected UVM to the Vermont refugee community.

“It’s very cool that UVM can help people in this way,” first-year Emily DePorto said. “I think a lot of the time, people think that they are too small to help people, but this program is one way that the University can help individuals help other people.”