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Meet Seun Edagbami-Olota, Helping Hand Project research intern

Over the past two years, Canada has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of refugee claimants, and social services are strained to the limit. There is a critical need for organizations that can provide emotional and psychological assistance to victims who are fleeing violence and torture in their former countries.

HOPE worldwide Canada is currently laying the foundation for a project that will help refugee children in Toronto and the GTA who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after arriving in Canada seeking asylum. This project will be based on the Helping Hand project in Ukraine, partly funded by HOPE worldwide Canada and implemented by HOPE worldwide Ukraine. The aim is not only to provide children affected by war with socio-psychological therapy but also train therapists who can offer professional recovery programs to them.

A comprehensive research project was launched in June to guide the Helping Hand project in Toronto. We are pleased to introduce Seun Edagbami-Olota, our summer research intern. She will be providing regular blog posts during the summer on her work that we will share with you. Read the first one below.

My name is Seun Edagbami-Olota. I am 18, Nigerian, and going into my third year in computer science and applied math. As someone who came to Canada as a refugee two years ago, this project hits home because I know personally how it is to move to a completely different area and start up a new life.

This summer I was looking for my very first job and I got a call from the campus minister at my church saying that there's a research internship that would be a great opportunity for me. I read about it, and the Helping Hand project, how it helped with providing trauma therapy to children who experienced war in Ukraine. I thought that it would be great to not only get a job but to be a part of something that was positively impacting people's lives.

The Helping Hand project in Ukraine seeks to help children suffering from the trauma of war in eastern Ukraine.

For my first week, I did a lot of research to learn more about the Helping Hand project and about the war that was going on in eastern Ukraine. I cannot imagine what it is like to experience war or be forced out of your home.

In the second week, I compiled a list of community agencies and trauma therapists that work with refugees in the GTA. The aim was to find out what percentage of children actually have war trauma in those community organizations and identify trauma therapists that may be interested in going to Ukraine for specialized training on war trauma therapy. This is basically a needs assessment, finding out through surveys or visiting the organizations. My first visit was to the Ukrainian Canadian social services, just to know what they do there and see if they had a list of community organizations as well.

I do a lot of research at home on my computer, searching for relevant information on the internet and find out more by going to places in person when I need to. I have had a lot of help from the project coordinators, Taras and Sandra Kulish, on what to do and how to do my research.

I look forward to continuing my research until the end of the summer.

If you have any questions or comments or useful information for this research project you may contact me at


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