How You Can Help
Stories of Healing
The Awareness Raising/Sensitization
Training topics include:
We make people aware of trauma issues. We educate both the public and
our clients on the importance of healing trauma. Our message is that
people need not suffer when there are services available to help them.
We educate the public to break the silence, for example, when rapes
We have produced and distributed many fliers and pamphlets explaining
what trauma is, how it affects people and what will
promote a healing process. We give talk shows
and interviews on local radio and television, broadcasting messages of
hope and health. In this way, we begin to plant the seeds of peace
throughout our society.
The Trauma Healing and Conflict Transformation Training Program
has provided over 240 training sessions where participants learned to
plant the seeds of peace . We used our successfully adapted curriculum
to conduct workshops and seminars. The training is both theoretical and
practical. For the training of the community practitioners, over half
the workshop is spent in practicum, giving participants the opportunity
to test their skills in role play so that they can see for themselves
how the methods work.
When community practitioners encounter cases beyond their capacity, they
are trained to make appropriate and timely referrals. Part of the
training covers norms or standards of practice.
These include professional
standards of care, protection, making and following up on clinical
referrals and accessing legal or medical services.
Understanding the cycle of violence
Traditional ways of handling grief and loss
Stages of trauma recovery
Working with traumatized children
Another important aspect of THARSí work is
the widely used and highly successful Alternatives to Violence Program (AVP)
pioneered by the Quakers for use in the New York State prisons. AVP
provides non-violent options for the resolution of conflict. Since 2002
basic AVP training has been provided to many people. Many hope that this
program can help restore the humanity that has been buried under
decades of civil war and ethnic conflict.
THARS has thus far provided listening centers
and formed support groups in many locations. Listening centers offer clinical
intervention by community professional counselors. These men and women
are stationed in intervention zones where the need is
Bujumbura, Gitega, Ngozi, Muramvya, Cibitoke, Makamba,
Muyinga and Ruyigi. In addition to
providing ongoing psychosocial clinical intervention, our listening
centers are a primary referral destination for the other community
Listening centers provide safe spaces, quiet and discreet places for
providing effective counseling and support services to those who need
help or simply need to express their pain and concern.
Support groups enable participants to draw strength and encouragement
from each other and help breakdown the sense of isolation and
The Sexual Violence Rehabilitation Program has served
many victims. This program was developed
to respond to the ever increasing number of rape cases throughout the
Burundi. The Victims of
Torture project helped us understand the great
need to address sexual violence and abuse as a special issue.
Under this program we manage shelter houses where rape victims and
other sexual violence survivors live for a given period of time, while
our staff provides psychosocial support and clinical/medical
While survivors are in the shelter, our staff work with
family and community to persuade them to welcome back the survivor and
be part of her healing process. This advocacy intervention motivates and
sometimes challenges the community to support the victimís
reintegration. Without the services of these shelters, rape victims have
few options and are likely to experience more assaults.
THARS works with the
Through Pieces program which enables sexual
assault victims and others to participate in in group quilt-making.
Research and Database Program. This program was developed when students
from various universities got interested in our work. Thanks to the U.S.
Embassy and George Fox University, we expanded our resource center by
shelving more books in our fields of interest.
Our resource center manager keeps records of all our services and number
of clients served on both sexual violence and torture survivors. Thanks
to the data-tracking forms and instruments, we have seen which areas in
Burundi have the most torture survivors, rape victims (children, young
adults and old) and track the process of healing of our clients
(moderate, severe, and mild). Interested organizations have consulted
our research findings and database to enrich their services to the