The three programs within Olive Branch International are designed with a clear objective in mind: To meet the needs of the international military community and their families as they express them.
The content of each program domain is subject to change as requirements emerge. Yet the current programmatic structure has proven sufficiently broad and inclusive to solidify OBI’s position as a premier humanitarian-support organization to the military and to encourage increased international interest in soliciting OBI assistance.
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OBI typically enters a nation only after solicitation by, and upon the invitation of, senior foreign military or governmental officials. This method of entry facilitates meeting our goal to “train-the-trainers,” that is, afford military leaders access to OBI-sponsored subject-matter experts so that they, in turn, might train indigenous personnel in matters of interest. Militaries, the world over, yearn to learn more about topics such as crisis intervention, trauma, combat stress, substance abuse, suicide prevention and effective interpersonal counseling. OBI meets those needs. A vital component of these training and education programs focuses on spiritual development. As OBI addresses issues affecting the mind (training and educational programs) and the body (medical programs), it also provides remedy to crises of the human spirit through the avenue of chaplaincy program development. While appropriate spiritual response to crises is often situation-dependent, OBI holds the view that nations have an obligation to meet the unique spiritual needs of their armed forces. Toward that end, OBI encourages the development of chaplaincies for the military and provides training and tailored curriculum. The proper form and content of such chaplaincies would be established by appropriate military and/or governmental authorities. Again, OBI’s desire is to meet needs, holistically, by addressing issues of the body, mind and spirit.
Family Support Programs
Military members want to provide for their families, and yet, the pressures and unique stresses of military service can challenge family unity and cohesion. OBI members reach out to military spouses and their families to provide tangible skills, encouragement and support. One of the skills that OBI provides is entrepreneurial skills for military spouses or widows. Income derived from this skill assists in elevating the quality of life for the family. Additional topics include developing a support network, dealing with separation, effects of stress on family members, and reintegrating families after separation.
Plato wrote, “Only the dead have seen the end to war,” and no population is more vividly aware of ongoing conflict, and the pain and agony associated with it, than the military community.
Not only are the military the principal victims of war, but uniformed service-members are typically first responders at times of national calamity or emergency. In Sri Lanka, as only one example, the soldiers who had lost homes and family members themselves in the 2004 tsunami were nonetheless cast as care-givers and medical-response personnel on the scene. Medical needs worldwide extend from the most elementary (basic first aid items) to the most complex (surgical support, prosthetic care, rehabilitative efforts) and OBI task organizes to meet each need with both people and materials.
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