Empowering girls-at-risk through phototherapy

Located in close proximity to the border with Gaza are several boarding schools housing young teenage girls who have been removed from their homes by the state due to unsafe living conditions. For many, the trauma of years of ongoing abuse, sexual violence and neglect is compounded by direct exposure to the ongoing conflict in the form of rocket fire and local military engagement. These girls have in essence escaped one life threatening scenario, only to enter another.

NATAL’s phototherapy program helps the girls cope and manage their ongoing anxiety and stress as a result of both their personal histories, and current living situation. Over a course of 15 weeks, these girls engage in phototherapy workshops that center around the development of resiliency skills and coping mechanisms for dealing with traumatic situations via group therapy, guided discussions, psycho-educational workshops and team building exercises. A common result of trauma is the inability to articulate feelings and thoughts verbally, as sometimes words simply aren’t enough. Phototherapy therefore provides a therapeutic platform for the girls to express their anxieties and fears, along with their hopes and dreams.