Mindfulness without Borders – Refugees

£4507 was awarded to Ariana Faris at the ‘Mindfulness without Borders’ project through our 2016 Accessibility Fund. The project provides mindfulness-based courses for stress reduction and trauma relief to Arabic- and Farsi-speaking populations of asylum seekers and refugees in the UK. Pilots are being run in Cardiff and London, both of which support large numbers of refugees.


The project has already been successful in:

  • establishing partnerships with referring organisations to identify appropriate women for the courses
  • organising and briefing Arabic and Farsi interpreters
  • ongoing mentoring and supervision of trainee teachers in Cardiff and London, who are attending 8 week MBCT courses, so that mindfulness training and support is available beyond the life of the pilot project
  • adapting guided mindfulness practices to the needs of those who may have trauma related symptoms, professionally recorded in Arabic and English and uploaded to the MWB YouTube channel
  • commissioning a website in three languages with guided practices and explanations of mindfulness and its benefit, that are culturally appropriate and relevant to communities who may use the site, with an estimated completion date of May 2017
  • delivery of one MBCT course in partnership with the Welsh Refugee Council in the autumn of 2016, reaching 14 women of 6 nationalities. Feedback was mainly positive and learning was fed into the London pilot
  • starting two London courses in February, one in partnership with Springfield Community Flats, a small charity offering English classes to refugee and BME
    communities in Southwark; and the second course with 1st place Family and Child centre in Southwark, who work with refugees, and Hestia, a London charity who work with trafficked women

Going forward, the project aims to identify participants’ experiences of the practices and any relief of symptoms, as well as collect their views on practical aspects of the course such as the length of sessions, barriers to attendance, pitfalls and possibilities in using a translator, cross cultural issues etc. It will help refugees learn mindfulness skills to reduce their stress, build resilience and better coping mechanisms and improve understanding of how mindfulness can support integration of refugees into local communities. Resources will also be made available to other organisations and mindfulness teachers working with refugee communities in the UK and beyond.

Watch a video about the work of Mindfulness Without Borders.

Image shows London pilot of trauma-adapted MBCT for refugee women