Community Based Health Programs


Community Health Worker (CHW) Training on Mental Health

 At the heart of our work, the Community Health Workers (CHWs) Training on Mental Health stands as the inaugural initiative of HEI. Crafted in collaboration with refugee community groups and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), this program fills the critical void in mental health services within the community. It aims to amplify the innate resilience and capabilities that already flourish within our communities.

This comprehensive nine-month training program is designed to enrich CHWs with the essential knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary for effective collaboration within multi-disciplinary mental healthcare teams. Our goal is to equip CHWs to deliver both clinical and community-based mental healthcare alongside conducting vital psycho-social interventions.


Program Highlights:

  • Comprehensive Training: Immersion in a nine-month training designed to equip CHWs with essential knowledge and skills for effective mental health care in the community, fostering both personal and professional growth.
  • Focused Skill Development: Gaining knowledge and skills to identify mental health issues and make appropriate referrals for necessary support, ensuring timely interventions for at-risk community members.
  • Community Engagement: Learning to lead outreach, psycho-education education, and mental health screening initiatives to enhance community resilience and awareness on mental health.
  • Cultural Mediation: Acquiring translation and communication skills vital for bridging communication in therapy and ensuring accessible care for all community members.
  • Professional Collaboration: Working alongside HEI’s mental health professionals to contribute to a holistic care approach that combines clinical expertise with community-based support.
  • Psychosocial Support: Mastering the provision of a broad spectrum of support services, from mental assessments to treatment and rehabilitation, to support community members on their recovery journey.


Community Outreach

 At the heart of HEI’s mission, our Community Outreach program is dedicated to nurturing strong bonds within the community, facilitating the early detection and intervention of mental health issues, and empowering individuals with the knowledge and resources needed for enhanced mental well-being and effective stress management.


Program Highlights:

  • Collaborative Identification: Our approach involves a collaborative effort between volunteer Community Health Workers (CHWs) and community leaders to identify communities in need, with a special focus on ‘hard to reach’ refugee groups who have limited access to social support networks.
  • Responsive Interventions: We are agile in our response to events that might impact community mental health, such as crises in their countries of origin. Our outreach activities are tailored to address the resultant anxiety and stress, providing much-needed support during critical times.
  • Empowerment Through Education: Central to our outreach is the empowerment of community members. Through our programs, individuals gain valuable insights and tools to enhance their mental well-being and navigate life’s challenges with greater resilience.


Feasibility of COVID-19 Self-Testing in Refugee Learning Centres in Malaysia (FOSTER)

In a notable collaboration, HEI, with Monash University Malaysia and FIND, implemented the FOSTER Project to strengthen the health resilience of refugee communities in Malaysia. This initiative exemplifies HEI’s dedication to proactive community engagement, introducing a pioneering COVID-19 self-testing framework within refugee learning environments to navigate and mitigate the challenges posed by the pandemic.


Project Overview: Strengthening Community Health

The essence of the FOSTER Project lies in empowering refugee teachers and community health workers(CHWs) to lead a comprehensive self-testing campaign across 11 Refugee Learning Centers (RLCs) in the Klang Valley and Kedah. This approach not only addressed immediate health needs but also included an 8-week monitoring phase to ensure the strategy’s effectiveness over time.


Key Components of Our Approach:

  • Educational Outreach: We developed tailored educational materials in the languages spoken by the refugees to ensure the smooth implementation of the project and to equip community members with essential health knowledge.
  • Capacity Building: Our training programs for refugee teachers and CHWs aimed to prepare them for the successful deployment of the COVID-19 self-testing project, enhancing community education and readiness.
  • Implementation and Monitoring: From piloting to full-scale rollout, we closely managed the self-testing process, ensuring it met the community’s evolving needs.
  • Data-Informed Strategies: Through surveys and other tools of monitoring, we adapted our implementation approach from the pilot to the rollout phases to maximize effectiveness.
  • Collaborative Effort: Our project thrived on the synergy between partners and community sites, ensuring a unified and impactful execution.
  • Support Networks: We provided robust support for health referrals and community health workers, bolstering the community’s health framework.
  • Sharing Insights: Our commitment extends to sharing our findings and learnings, contributing to broader community resilience and preparedness.


Experience the Transformation: The FOSTER Project in Action

We invite you to immerse yourself in the meaningful impact of the FOSTER Project through a dynamic video. Experience the journey of refugee communities in Malaysia, HEI and its partners as they navigate the challenges of the pandemic with this innovative COVID-19 self-testing model. This visual story not only highlights the collaborative spirit of our partners but also celebrates the resilience of the communities we support.



    Participatory Action Research on Social-Emotional Learning in a Refugee Learning Center Using a Trauma-Informed Approach (PARSEL)

    The PARSEL Project, a pioneering initiative, is a collaboration between the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences at Monash University Malaysia, Health Equity Initiatives, and the Kachin Refugee Learning Center, supported by UNHCR.


    Purpose and Impact:

    Recognizing the pivotal role schools play in refugee children’s lives, the PARSEL Project aims to bolster the resilience of refugee communities, particularly children. The project seeks to nurture their psychosocial development and overall health by increasing their access to vital resources.


    Key Components of the PARSEL Project:

    • Teacher Training on Social-Emotional Learning (SEL): Empowering refugee teachers on social-emotional learning with participatory learning and action techniques to foster a supportive learning environment.
    • Ongoing Support for Educators: Providing continuous back-stopping support to refugee teachers, ensuring the effective implementation of SEL principles.
    • Interactive Student Workshops: Facilitating age-appropriate, child-centric workshops that engage students in meaningful learning experiences.
    • Health Surveillance: Conducting physical and mental health checks for students, including monitoring and referrals for immunizations and mental health support.
    • Community Engagement: Organizing events that promote social connectedness, enhancing the community fabric.
    • Advocacy for Child Development: Engaging in dialogue and consensus-building efforts to advance the cause of refugee child development and health.


    Explore the PARSEL project’s Training Program on Social Emotional Learning designed for refugee teachers working with refugee children.


    Information, Education And Communication (IEC) Materials

    In our commitment to serve refugee communities, we have crafted an extensive collection of Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) materials. Designed with inclusivity at the forefront, these resources are available in a variety of languages spoken within the community, including Malay, Urdu, Farsi, Burmese, Tamil, Arabic, and Rohingya.


    Our IEC Materials Cover:

    • Mental Health Awareness: Providing essential insights into mental health and well-being, our materials are crafted to support and guide individuals through their journeys towards mental resilience.
    • COVID-19 Updates & Health Guidelines: This collection includes government updates and health advisories on COVID-19, ensuring the safety and well-being of our communities.

    Explore our comprehensive library of resources and embark on a journey towards informed well-being. Access our materials here.

    … more of our work

    Community Based Mental Health Programs

    Learn More

    Mental Health Services

    Learn More

    Evidence based advocacy

    Learn More

    Training and technical support

    Learn More

    People’s Health Forum

    Learn More