Join Rooting Resilience: Panel Discussion and Launch of Psychosocial Support Resources for Migrant Solidarity Responders

You are invited to Rooting Resilience: Panel Discussion and Launch of Psychosocial Support Resources for Migrant Solidarity Responders.

The event will take place on Wednesday, 15 December, 10:30 AM-12:30 NOON.

We hope to see you there!

As part of Comhlámh’s Erasmus+ funded Working for a Better World – Sustaining Civic Responses” project, you are warmly invited to a discussion that will mark the launch of two new integrative, context-specific psycho-social resources.  

Caoimhe Butterly and Dervla King, Project Coordinators, will host the conversation with an international panel of Search and Rescue personnel and medics, psycho-social workers and camp volunteers. Speakers will reflect on their experiences of witnessing the long, extremely difficult journeys of women, men and children seeking refuge in Europe, and the impacts on those who respond.  

Amongst the lines of enquiry explored will be burn-out and rust-out, traumatic witness and activation, self and co-regulation, moral injury and vicarious resilience.  

In recognition of International Volunteer Day 2021, we will also launch a ‘Training of trainers’ manual and a psycho-educational Learning Resource, aimed at supporting and sustaining those involved in solidarity-based responses to forced and mixed migration.


10:30 – 10:40 am – Welcome by Dervla King (Comhlámh)

10:40 – 11:05 am – Overview of the W4BW/Sustaining Civic Response project and Rooting Resilience psycho-social resources by Caoimhe Butterly (Comhlámh)

11:05 – 11:15 am – Performance of ‘My Dreams Still Fly’ by Elena Yaqubee, Afghan Human Rights activist and musician (joining us from Lesvos, Greece)

11:15 am – 12:20 pm – Panel Discussion and Conversation featuring Gabriella Brent (Refugee Trauma Initiative), Aliya Abidi (Lighthouse Relief), Donna Vuma (MASI), Madi Williamson (Free Humanitarians),  Paula Quirke (Spirasi), Pru Waldorf (Refugee Solidarity Summit), Brendan Woodhouse (SAR responder) and Pat Rubio Bertran (Refugee Rescue SAR Response)

12:20 -12:30 pm – Closing Remarks by Mark Cumming (Comhlámh)

We hope you will join us. 


Gabriella Brent (Refugee Trauma Initiative): Gabriella is Refugee Trauma Initiative’s Clinical Lead and Head of Programmes and is a transpersonal counsellor and psychotherapist. Gabriella oversees RTI’s training and capacity building programmes; Baytna, Dinami, therapeutic work with men and women and RTI’s humanitarian wellbeing capacity-building work – providing training and wellbeing support to other humanitarian organizations working with refugees. Before working with RTI, Gabriella spent 15 years working across the UK in the NGO sector piloting and implementing more humane, trauma-informed, systemic models of care.

Aliya Abidi (Lighthouse Relief): Aliya is an aid worker, working mostly in Protection and Child Protection within humanitarian responses (in Lebanon, Greece, South Sudan and Syria.) Alongside this work she volunteers with organizations in the UK assisting people who arrive seeking asylum and are housed in temporary accommodation, and is part of the Advisory Group for Lighthouse Relief, an organization working in Greece since 2015. Aliya is currently enrolled in an MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies, and is interested in issues related to access to educational and learning spaces for people of all ages displaced and on the move.

Donnah Vuma (MASI – Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland): Donna is an activist and campaigner for human rights. She tirelessly fights for the end of the Direct Provision system and the rights of people seeking international protection in Ireland. She is a founding member of the Movement of Asylum Seekers Ireland (MASI) and the founder of Every Child Is Your Child, a community group that works towards supporting children living in Direct Provision with school essentials. Donnah has 7 years of lived experience with her 3 children in the Direct Provision system- they have been recently granted international protection after 8 years of waiting for a decision. She is currently studying towards an MA in Peace and Development Studies at the University of Limerick.

Paula Quirke (Spirasi): Paula is the Rehabilitation Coordinator at Spirasi the national rehabilitation center for victims of torture. She previously coordinated the frontline service for asylum seekers and refugees at the Irish Refugee Council. Prior to that, she undertook casework with the irregular migration team at the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland. Paula holds a BA in International Relations and an MA in Development Studies from Dublin City University and an advanced diploma in Immigration and Asylum Law from King’s Inns. Her MA thesis focused on minority rights and protection of Roma; she has since gained practical experience working on a Roma health community initiative. Paula has also served as a board member of Safe Haven Ireland which promotes youth integration through sail training development.

Pru Waldorf (Refugee Solidarity Summit): Pru is the co-creator of the Refugee Solidarity Summit 2022, a trauma-informed yoga teacher, mindfulness coach, social justice activist, non-profit event producer and Compassionate Integrity Training/CIT trainer. She lives in rural Kent, where she practices permaculture. Pru has a MA in Applied Anthropology and community development and is passionate about building the capacity of grassroots humanitarian networks.  She works with human rights activists, refugee community organisers, civil society networks, mutual aid groups and volunteer humanitarian first responders – who are active in the area of refugee support and solidarity – to co-create regenerative approaches which create long-term resilience and abundance while responding to immediate humanitarian crises. Pru is interested in the concept of ‘Radical Self-care’ as proposed by Audrey Lorde and believes that by bringing our whole authentic self to our reflective practice, we can achieve praxis and ensure that we truly ‘do no harm’ in our work. 

Brendan Woodhouse (Search And Rescue Responder): Brendan is a refugee rescue RHIB driver for Sea-Watch, having worked in Lesvos, France and in the Central Mediterranean Sea, north of Libya.

Pat Rubio Bertran (Refugee Rescue): Pat is the Program Lead at the civil search and rescue NGO Refugee Rescue. Simultaneously, she is the Production Manager for the documentary feature ‘Another Place’, which follows the lives of asylum seekers in several European countries as they attempt to rebuild their lives. Pat holds an LLM in Human Rights Law, where she specialised in legal research and advocacy regarding migration and border violence. She has published several articles and a book chapter, mostly centred on how to keep Europe accountable for its crimes against migrants. Before, Pat worked with several local and international NGOs in Lebanon, Greece, Jordan, and Iraq.

Elena Yaqubee (Musician and Human Rights Activist): Elena is a human rights defender and musician from Afghanistan. She has been on the road over the past years, in her refuge-seeking journey, from Afghanistan to Iran, Iran to Turkey and Turkey to Greece, where she arrived in 2019. Elena will perform, online from Lesvos, her powerful song ‘My Dreams Still Fly’ as part of the event, about which she says:

“In my last years, I am devoting myself to music, trying to express my feelings through this magic art of vibration which has the power to spread my voice and it has the power to make sense of my life. My voice tries always to reflect the voices of thousands of people on this earth who unfortunately do not have the strength or the possibility to express themselves.”

“My Wings Are Broken but My Dreams Still Fly” is the first song that has blossomed step by step during my personal experiences, but actually it represents the life and the hope of all those who try day by day to reach their freedom. This song is the beginning of my musical journey and is the beginning of my strong intention to always fight for human rights.”

We hope you will join us.

Register now!