The work of Intisar Foundation is intrinsic to the success of any sustainable Peacebuilding effort in the Arab world because our mission is to ensure psychological recovery and psychosocial progress of Arab women traumatised by war and violence. A testament to that is our #OneMillionArabWomen initiative, a 30-year-plan to alleviate war and violence trauma in one million Arab women through the use of drama therapy. In support of our main purpose, we also also encourage excellence in the drama therapy education and research and development fields in the Arab world and beyond.
Intisar Foundation amplifies its work by framing it around three strategic initiatives:
– Field work
– Education in drama therapy
The Intisar Foundation’s approach to providing psychological support to Arab women suffering from the trauma of war and violence is considered innovative because:
- It utilizes drama therapy as the only psychological intervention that addresses body, emotions, and the mind (the neuroscience-based approach)
- It utilizes drama therapy as the most effective psychological intervention that successfully circumvents mental health stigma due to employing various activities (from dance to storytelling) which (i) enable women to avoid self-stigmatization and allow themselves to overcome their individual traumas at their own pace through, and (ii) prevent any potential social stigmatization hampering the women’s psychological progress by being perceived as ‘a creative arts group session’ and not ‘a psychological therapy session’
- It is delivered by Arab drama therapists, in Arabic, and within the refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan or through online sessions open to all Arabic-speaking women
- Is done in a group setting (20 women) over 12-16 weekly sessions and monthly sessions for a prolonged year, which creates a support group and instills a sense of belonging to one another in a larger community. In being inclusive of all nationalities, including both refugee women and women from the host communities, the Intisar Foundation sessions have proved to be one of the few settings where Palestinian, Syrian, Jordanian and Lebanese women work together in a cultural setting
OUR IMPACT IN NUMBERS: 2018 – present
Reached 250+ women affected by war and violence trauma
Reached 1,200+ indirect beneficiaries
Completed 2,300+ hours of field work
Geographical reach potential:
Current field work – 2 countries (Lebanon and Jordan)
Future field work – 20 other countries of the Arab world
Global reach potential:
Online reach to the Arabic-speaking population of 400+ million native and non-native speakers.
We insist that our philanthropic capital must be used effectively and for maximum impact in order to bring about systemic sustainable change for Arab women.
For that reason, Intisar Foundation’s work is meticulously documented, researched, and analysed in order to ensure that the foundation continues (i) delivering measurable and evidence-based results, and (ii) to help offset the significant dearth of research in the field of drama therapy and mental health in the Arab world.
Intisar Foundation’s first qualitative research paper published in David Journal ( https://intisarfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/coverpagePDF-merged.pdf ) has shown that the Intisar Foundation approach leads to significant results:
- 78% of our participants experienced increased self-esteem, ranging between 14% and 33% improvements in self-reported scores
- 75% of our participants experienced a reduction in PTSD, ranging between 8% to 25% reduction in self-reported scores
- 75% of our participants experienced a reduction in depression, ranging between 13% to 37% reduction in self-reported scores
- 75% of our participants experienced a reduction in anxiety, ranging between 11% and 48% reduction in self-reported scores
- 75% of our participants experienced an improvement in satisfaction with life, ranging between 9% and 18% improvements in self-reported scores
- 75% of our participants experienced increased positive emotional experiences and decreased negative emotional experiences
Furthermore, Intisar Foundation’s work has shown evidence of changing deeply entrenched cultural narratives, such as Arab women ending the practice of child marriages due to a newly-adopted belief that they can protect their daughters by encouraging them to gain education that will lead to their future economic empowerment and advancement. The foundation’s team also reports the cases of female victims of domestic violence standing up to their abusers. Plus, another outcome of drama therapy reducing PTSD symptoms associated with aggression and low-impulse control is the reduction of household violence either directly from the mother or indirectly through the reduction of tensions within the household and facilitating better emotional growth and communication within the family.
In addition, Intisar Foundation published the Research Booklet “Can Drama Therapy Evoke Neuroplastic Change In The Brain?” to raise awareness on the benefits of this psychological approach for alleviating war and violence trauma. ( https://intisarfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Neuroscience-Booklet.pdf )
Our team of drama therapists and mental health experts will continue to work on a number of research projects that explore the qualitative and quantitative impact of drama therapy on vulnerable populations. This work is expected significantly to contribute to the field of mental health and psychosocial support in the Arab world and beyond.
We ensure that our work meets the highest quality standards due to being supervised by the Intisar Foundation’s Technical Committee compromising of the world-renowned experts in drama therapy.
Education in drama therapy
Intisar Foundation’s educational arm is aimed at nurturing the talent of future Arab drama therapists in order to secure the required number of qualified experts who would continue on delivering the foundation’s programmes in Arabic and help it achieve its One Million Arab Women initiative.
In September 2020, the foundation signed a memorandum of understanding with the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK), a private university in Mount Lebanon, to support the enrollment of 15 female Arab students into USEK’s master’s curriculum in drama therapy in Arabic language.
Intisar Foundation relies on the values of integrity, innovation, and inclusiveness.
Intisar Foundation is committed to the highest level of ethical and social standards. As a UK-based charitable organisation, we ensure that our programmes are meticulously designed with the wellbeing of our beneficiaries and our staff at the forefront. We work with world-renowned experts in the fields of psychology and drama therapy to ensure that our interventions comply with the ethical guidelines of psychological care through the use of consent forms, identity protection, and guaranteeing dignity for the women we work with. Our programmes, research activities, and publications fully adhere to standards made to respect the anonymity of our beneficiaries.
We have developed a culturally sensitive and effective psychological approach while maintaining the core principles of drama therapy, which is well known and often used in Western countries but, until now, it has not been developed for adequate implementation in the Arab world.
Intisar foundation is committed to providing its support to women from all backgrounds and walks of life. Our programmes are open to any woman, regardless of nationality or background, who might benefit from our programmes.