Working in collaboration with Migrant Help, Spring to Life ran a Tree of Life programme with newly arrived young refugees and asylum seekers. It took place during June and September of this year, and was funded by Swan Mountain Trust.
Tree of Life is a ‘narrative psychology’ approach originally developed in Africa for traumatised young people and children. It involves giving participants an opportunity to explore their lives (including their traumas) and their sense of selves from a position of strength and empowerment. This is done creatively with participants depicting their lives as a tree with different parts of the tree representing different aspects of their lives. While exploring their tree of life participants to connect with other people through sharing experiences and gifting comments on other people’s sharing, with the process culminating in people’s individual trees coming together to make up a Tree of Life. We had participants from Syria, Iran, Kurdistan and Afghanistan.
We held the first part of the programme at the beautiful Martineau Gardens, where as well as people taking part in the day long session they also got to enjoy the beauty, peace and friendly atmosphere of this community garden. The intention of this aspect is to encourage participants to return to visit Martineau Gardens independently in their own time, as a way to promote integration and connection between refugee and migrant communities with local projects.
The second part of the programme involed getting the same participants to take part in actual planting trees themselves in a community space, or to care for fruit trees at a community orchard. This follow up section of the programme worked with the Fruit and Nut Village Stirchley project to support the ‘edible park’ initiative at Hazewell Park.
Here are some testimonials from participants:
“The course was so helpful and made me feel very happy”
“Learnt more about how to deal with difficulties”
“Learnt to be patient when facing calamity”
“Talk together and get help from