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Healthier and more productive communities free of ill-mental health

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Healthier and more productive communities free of ill-mental health

Tackling trauma and common mental disorders through an integrated, scalable, cost-effective community-based social healing model in Africa

We do this as we are convinced that everyone deserves a happy, productive and dignified life

  • Mental disorders-mainly depression and anxiety make up 14% of the global burden of diseases, predominantly in low and middle-income countries especially the African continent.
  • In post-genocide Rwanda, 1 in 5 people i.e. over 20% in the general population and 1 in 2 people in the genocide survivors population are suffering from mental disorders predominantly depression, anxiety disorders and post-traumatic disorders. The situation is compounded with collective traumas that have crossed the borders.
  • Social and economic corollaries are heavily felt with the pauperization of the people affected by ill-mental health, compromised education of their children, gender inequality, sexual and gender violence including domestic violence, just to name but a few.
  • The individualized and medicalized conventional response of the healthcare system is overwhelmed with only 1 in 6 accessing badly needed mental health to services.
  • We are bridging the gap with a scalable, culturally sensitive, non-stigmatizing accessible community-based social healing model, which integrates safe and cost-effective mind-body practices, collective narrative practice and rituals. They are provided through healing groups for 16 weeks by Lay People- Community Healing Assistants who are recruited from the community, trained and supervised by psychologists.  After the completion of the therapeutic window, healing groups transition to long term support groups and create additional activities including loans circles, solidarity work and cooperatives to cement healing and resilience.

Stories & Testimonials

John

“We were about to kill each other, but now we are in the honey moon”. (John-this is a false name to keep anonymity, a 45 years old male who attended the healing journey with his wife). John was married to a 38 years old female for 12 years, with 5 children. Their daily life was business oriented, and they were working hard to develop their family. Surprisingly after a few years together, they got embroiled in a serious family conflict leading to their separation for 7 years. Several local leaders’ attempts to reconcile them failed lamentably. They both fell in severe depression. “…I was a successful business man in my community. read more 

Vincent

The 1994 genocide against the tutsi occurred when I was 7 years old. I lost my parents, my siblings and other relatives. Consequently I didn’t manage to study properly. Once adult, I got married. I got children but the relationship with my husband was very challenging. We failed to live in harmony and we decided to divorce. The divorce worsened my genocide related-trauma. I attempted to commit suicide 3 times. I attempted to kill myself ingesting batteries, as I believed it would render me a good job in that direction, but I did not die. Life had become a heavy burden to me. One day the community healing assistants came to my home and sensitized me about read more

Jane

When the genocide against the tutsi started I was 11 years old. My parents and siblings were killed; I survived with some family members but I did manage to live in good terms with them. That situation caused me to misbehave and I ended by leaving the school. Family members decided to transfer me to Kigali. Once there, I kept my anxiety and felt traumatized. I became more than more depressed. Then I got married believing that it would be the end of my sufferings. Living with my husband turned into nightmares after some months together. We were in endless conflicts. He used to bit me so that I regretted why I got married to him. Sometimes I wondered that read more

Paul

“I am a married person with three children. I participated in the 1994 genocide against the tutsi. Then I was imprisoned until the President clemency released me. Though I was liberated from the prison, I was always guilty of my deeds during the genocide. I isolated myself. I felt unworthy to be with other people due to my status. I was like a cursed and excluded person. I felt less than a person. When I got informed about the healing groups I was still with those negative feelings. However, I got interested with attending the sessions. I met in the group the people I offended and the program gathered us and that contributed to feel better. read more

Grace

Grace is married to a second husband who is now in prison. They had together 4 children. Unfortunately, 2 of them died during the 1994 genocide. Four of her five siblings died as well. Because of all those losses, Grace was always sad, lonely and crying almost every day. She used to wonder why she didn’t die. “My life was like in hell, I had lost hope in life” she said. During the healing practices in her group, she shared her story and listened to other group members’ experiences. Meeting others motivated her as she realized that she was not alone to be suffering. The group helped her feel better and she started sleeping well. Her weight has increased. She has now read more

Theresa

Theresa is 36 years old and single mother. Her son is 16 years old. In 2004, she got pregnant by a young man who later denied his fatherhood responsibility and rejected her. Her family rejected her as well. Her heart became heavy with sadness and from 2008 to 2011 her legs got paralyzed. She could not walk anymore. She spent one year in the hospital. When she started recovering, she suffered much from her spine. In addition, she was morally suffering for not being able to provide for her son who was also rejected by her family members. That led to her self-rejection and to hating her son whose father was not assisting the family during those challenging times. read more

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We bring people living with trauma and common mental disorders to a more flourishing life