Overview

We are working to improve lives of people living with traumas resulting from genocide, mass killings, domestic and sexual violence, natural disasters, displacement and epidemics. Our model is evidence-based, cost-effective and scalable to respond to one of the most challenging yet neglected global issue.

In fact, traumatic events are the main causes underlying most of common mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, substance abuse and dependence, psychosomatic illnesses. Mental Health disorders affect wellbeing and cause misery. They account for 14% of the global diseases burden, mainly depression and anxiety disorders, predominantly in poor countries. Only 1 in 5 people who need available treatment can access it because of stigma, poor healthcare systems and lack of funding, which is around 1% and 5% of the health budget respectively in Low- and Middle-Income Countries and rich countries. Associated lost production costs more than USD 1trillion.

In Rwanda post-genocide, more than 28.5% of people in general population are suffering from chronic PTSD and its psychiatric comorbidities including 22% depression, 12% substance dependence and anxiety disorders in high prevalence. Collective trauma complicates the situation with a vicious cycle of demonization and victimization, chronic fears, stereotyping, mistrust and lack of communality between people, which reflects a depleted social capital, requiring collective healing approaches.

Our model: integrated community-based social healing model

Our community-based social healing model is an integrated model, which builds on the new recent development in neuroscience, especially neuro-imaging and trauma healing. Our model aims at optimizing individual trauma healing in a traumatized society, integrating the practices of Transpersonal Psychology (TPP) using meditative practices that involve the movement of the body such as Tai Chi, Qi-Gong, Yoga and Acupressure to increase mindfulness and Experiential Learning (EL) tools including storytelling, use of metaphors and collective rituals. The TPP and EL complement each other.

Our theory of change

Given the scale of the problem, one organization can only do much. As we innovate and learn about what works and what doesn’t work, we use evidence to support the scale up for a writ large and sustainable impact through strategic partnerships and policy dialogue with the government. Our theory of change is a four-pronged approach including:

Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Research

As we do implement our innovative program in community-based social healing, we want to learn about what works and what does not, how and why it works using rigorous research methodologies in order to generate evidence for effectiveness and devise strategies for scale up. The evidence will provide us foundations for our advocacy efforts and in positioning the organization in innovative methods of tackling trauma related mental health disorders in traumatized societies

Our strategic focus 2017-2022

While the June 2017-December 2019 was dedicated at the proof-of-concept pilot project at a small scale, we aim at expand the community-based social healing model to 3 districts with the highest trauma-related mental health disorders including PTSD, Depression, Anxiety disorders, substance abuse and somatization by the end of 2022. We will have trained 1560 Community Healing Assistants and served directly 25,200 people living with traumas in Rwanda.

Impact and inspiring testimonies

In June 2017, we launched a proof-of-concept pilot project to test our integrated community-based social healing model in 2 Sectors of Kamonyi District, Southern Province in Rwanda.

  • 80 Community Healing Assistants (CHAs) including 48 Females and 32 males have been trained in basic notion of trauma, our model and have gained group facilitation skills.
  • Over 1176 trauma-affected community members including 638 females and 230 males have graduated from the healing journey with over 90% retention.

Based on preliminary results from the pilot involving 607 people as described in our publication, the outcome is very encouraging so far as the figure shows the below.

We improving lives of trauma-affected individuals and communities alike, convinced that everyone deserves a dignified life