HSA is a network of TRE® practitioners and disaster relief specialists dedicated to collaborating with local government and humanitarian agencies to bring an effective psycho-social tool to disaster-affected communities. Through the creation of community initiatives, support networks and a program known as Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE®), HSA strives to develop partnerships, projects and strategies for creating sustainable, ongoing psycho-social relief activities to minimize stress in disaster-stricken populations and in the aid workers that serve those areas.
The mission of Humanitarian Support Asia is to increase the operational capacity of humanitarian agencies by integrating TRE® to help develop personal and organizational resilience to cope with stress-filled daily operations and the intense nature of emergency response.
TRE® enhances the capacity of humanitarian workers, allowing them to more effectively manage and deliver quality programs, especially those relating to emergency response and reconstruction.
The idea for the creation of a humanitarian group that could introduce TRE® as a useful tool to aid workers began when two of HSA’s founders met in Thailand in 2013. At the time, TRE® was already known in Asia, but only among professional such as counselors and life coaches, and among some of the general public. There was no dedicated effort to bring the benefits of TRE to the domain of conflict and disaster response, the sector for which TRE was originally designed.
The founding members conceived of the plan to create HSA in 2013 in order to help agencies better respond to disasters in the moment and to help create sustainability and greater health within NGO’s and other humanitarian organizations. It was clear to the founders that that those working in NGO’s are highly affected by vicarious trauma and compassion fatigue. They felt that relief agencies, with their intensely focused work with conflict and disaster-stricken populations, could gain awareness of the effect of such work on their staff’s decision-making ability and overall emotional and mental health. HSA’s goal was to start working with the leadership, management and staff of aid organizations and then to incorporate TRE into their psycho-social programs for the people they serve.
According to an article written by Angharad-Laing, with Professionals in Humanitarian Assistance and Protection (PHAP),
Humanitarian effectiveness and accountability in humanitarian response have received a great deal of attention in recent years. However, despite considerable research underlining its importance, what is often missing or underplayed in discussions and initiatives relating to both these topics is the issue of the safety, security, and wellness of humanitarian staff and volunteers………Their concern, as individual practitioners, is not primarily driven by self-centered regard for their own safety and wellbeing, nor the safety and wellbeing of their friends, colleagues, or even family members – although these are clearly important considerations in their own right. Rather, it is based on a broader, higher-level concern that crisis-affected people may not be receiving the assistance and protection that they need, as a result of even the most committed, best-intentioned, best prepared, and most experienced aid workers and teams becoming unable to function at their best.
Due to the high rate of natural disasters and conflict in the area, Asia was chosen as the area of focus. Since its inception, HSA has been able to bring TRE to the typhoon-damaged areas of the Philippines, tsunami-affected areas in Japan, and conflict affected to Myanmar and International NGOs management trainings.