Teachers and school leaders in Beslan, in the Russian province of North Ossetia, where many hundreds died in a tragic siege at a city school last month, will receive therapeutic workshops and psychosocial support from a partner of the international humanitarian aid organization of The United Methodist Church.
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), which has provided relief in disaster areas, aided refugees and confronted the challenge of world hunger and poverty since 1940, recently donated $10,000 to the Center for Peacemaking and Community Development to fund a network of training and support intended to help survivors master the intrusive memories of their experiences. Activities include visual arts, music, dance and drama.
The Center has been working in the Beslan region since 1995 and responded to local authorities' urgent request for expertise in trauma counseling after gunmen with bombs strapped to their wastes held around 1,500 people hostage in the gymnasium of a local school earlier this month in a 53-hour hostage crisis that led to the deaths of more than 330 people.
UMCOR-Armenia has also provided in-kind assistance for those affected by the hostage taking in Beslan. The Armenian Ministry of Social Welfare asked UMCOR to contribute relief supplies for a container to be delivered to the town. UMCOR provided 60 school kits and 147 hygiene kits, valued at just under $2,500.00.
Meanwhile, according to the most recent reports, a parliamentary commission investigating the Beslan school hostage-taking returned from its first trip to the scene of the tragedy and will present its findings to the State Duma in closed-doors hearing Thursday.