Overview

We are working to create healthier and more productive communities by healing people living with psychological traumas and common mental disorders, most of which result 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 integrates mind-body practices including Qi-gong, Tai Chi and Yoga, with storytelling through collective narrative practice (Tree of Life) and rituals.

• Healing practices are provided by Community Healing Assistants whom we recruit from the communities we serve (in collaboration with local authorities), train them in basic notions of trauma and common mental disorders and equip them with our healing tools and group facilitation skills. CHAs are incentivized based on their performance and supervised by a psychologist.

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 and common mental health disorders in traumatized societies.

Our strategic focus July 2021- June 2024

Our overarching goals from which all priorities will derive during the above strategic period include:

GOAL 1: Expand program activities to additional 3 districts, reaching over 36,000 patients as we refine the community-based social healing model and prove its effectiveness
GOAL 2: Positioning organization to achieve scale up

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