NSC's Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience Program hosts Resilience Picnic in Support of Victims of Torture

NSC News 
  • NSC clients meet for a picnic in Washington Square Park.
Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience (PPR) is a collaborative between Nationalities Service Center, HIAS Pennsylvania, and Build-a-Bridge International -- empowering refugees and asylees who experienced torture to rebuild a self-sustaining and dignified future here in the U.S.


July 16, 2016

It’s easy to take for granted the freedom and safety of running around in open grass or sitting by a vacant bench, untroubled by roaring sounds of gunfire or the shrieking voices of your neighbors. This past Saturday, we did just that. Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience (PPR) organized a picnic at Washington Square Park for people who have survived torture and have made new lives in Philadelphia.

Some refugee families arrive terrified and incredulous, living through tremendous loss and the unspeakable horrors of torture back in their home country. At PPR, we know that a picnic lunch with hummus, fruit, Biryani, and French fries won’t completely alleviate those fears, but we hope it will bring our families together and remind them that they are not alone and valued in our communities.

The picnic was an event to recognize International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, honoring survivors’ courage and resilience. International Day in Support of Victims of Torture was commenced eighteen years ago on June 26th by the United Nations, where hundreds of organizations worldwide observe this day to remind survivors that they have not been forgotten. PPR also hosted a free film screening of an award-winning documentary called ‘The Last Survivor’ for students and professionals on June 23rd.

On the wet but green grass at Washington Square Park, both adults and children learned how to play Bocce and ate delicious homemade dishes that people brought to share. It was 95 degrees yet thirty-six people attended, and both parents and children were all smiles. One male survivor shared, “I haven’t felt this relaxed next to others in a long time.” We hope to make this picnic an annual tradition for survivors in our community.

Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience (PPR) is a collaborative between Nationalities Service Center, HIAS Pennsylvania, and Build-a-Bridge International -- empowering refugees and asylees who experienced torture to rebuild a self-sustaining and dignified future here in the U.S. PPR is the only survivors of torture program in Pennsylvania and offers survivors and their families’ access to comprehensive and culturally sensitive, social, legal, language access, and mental health services through in-house programs and referrals to outside agencies.

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