Mar 29, 2018

Children's Program

Children Reading Baby Finds Grace
Children Reading Baby Finds Grace

The girl was always quiet. In one of the activities in our children’s program, the children look at a set of images. The images show several facial expressions, and they are asked to choose which face they feel like most often. This girl picked the sad face. At first, she did not want to talk about the reason. 

Sometimes children don’t feel they can share what’s troubling them. Unless a caring adult asks, they suffer in silence. Baby Finds Grace is a children’s story we use in the mental health training program. It has two main goals: (1) a direct intervention to help children cope with grief and/or trauma, and (2) practical counseling experience for adult leaders.

Whenever possible, the mental health training program ends with some participants committing to work with children. We’re there as they begin, working through the first chapter of Baby Finds Grace. It’s important that they lead so they can continue the program on their own, after our training facilitators leave. These leaders will continue to work with the same group of children for six more weeks. With these caring leaders, children are able to express thoughts and emotions freely so they can process grief or trauma. 

The quiet girl eventually revealed her older brothers were bullying her. Her group’s leader visited the home and talked with her brothers. He taught them how to take care of younger siblings instead of picking on them. Two weeks later, she was a different girl. She was playing and laughing with the other children, interacting, as she had not been able to earlier. Her brothers had stopped bullying her.

Thank you for making these life-changing workshops possible!

Our next training program is in Liberia, a nation still struggling to recover from war, and more recently the Ebola epidemic. Here and in many parts of the world, people suffer unnecessarily from fear and stigma, and a lack of access to care. When you support this project, you're equipping community workers with basic skills to recognize and respond to mental health needs. 

Making memories from modeling clay
Making memories from modeling clay

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Dec 29, 2017

Training Changes Everything

Charity's counseling keeps families together
Charity's counseling keeps families together

Mama Charity says, “I'm not a psychologist by profession, but I realized I am playing the role of a counselor." 

In 2015, Tributaries International partnered with the Mercy Ships mental health program to train orphanage workers in Togo. Mama Charity came with five caregivers from her children's home. They were struggling and discouraged because of behavior issues caused by trauma among the children.

This year in a follow-up meeting, Charity told us the training they received has helped a lot. First, it helped to bring calm to the home. It brought awareness and helped them to develop new strategies for working with children’s trauma. Training also changed how she works with mothers.

"In my area there are 26 villages. Most of the girls are abandoned with babies. Everyone runs to the orphanage, crying, ‘Mama, Mama—my husband has run away and I have this baby. Help me!’”

Poverty tears families apart. Most children in orphanages are there because parents struggle to provide the most basic needs - not because there isn't a family. Mothers were bringing their children for Charity to raise, but this was not a sustainable solution.

Charity knows the pain of losing a child. She lost her three children to illness while they were still small. She has experienced much grief, but finds healing in loving the children around her.

Now, when a desperate mother brings her child, Charity says, “I’m calm. I listen. I calm them, and we try to find solutions.” She counsels the mothers and helps them realize their own worth. She identifies skills, encourages them, and helps find or create work. Instead of taking the child into the orphanage, she keeps the child from morning to evening while the mother works. Over 300 children now have day-to-day care with Charity, but they are able to live with their own families.

Each person we train has the potential to make deep and lasting change in the community they serve. As you send our training facilitators, you make this change possible. THANK YOU!

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Oct 16, 2017

"They call us their sons and daughters."

Training in Myanmar
Training in Myanmar

The Tributaries International mental health team recently returned from training in Myanmar and Nepal. These seminars equipped 48 new informal service providers. The team did a two-day follow-up for 15 church leaders trained last year in Myanmar.

Sons and Daughters

One follow-up participant said, “I'm an introvert but when I teach I use a lot of these things. I drew the models on the whiteboard and taught my church members. Learning the grief cycle helped my members grieve some losses. [They need to] go through the process.... There are no shortcuts. I saw a big change. I am more aware of what is going on in them. We also invite older people, love them, give them a sense of belonging and love. They love it! We share the love of God with them. They call us their sons and daughters. I learned many things from the lessons.”

Follow Up By Video Conference

On October 3rd, we held our first ever online follow-up session with forty-five participants. Formal and informal service providers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) attended the session. Initial training was offered by Mercy Ships, Tributaries International and the government of DRC in 2015. In order to provide follow up as promised, the three organizations partnered once again to strengthen the work which has already begun in DRC.

When you send a mental health training team, you shape families, communities, and nations. In most developing countries, access to mental health care is difficult if not impossible. Equipping church leaders, social workers, and health care providers with basic mental health and counseling skills provides a safety net in the community. Training raises awareness, makes care accessible, fights stigma and abuse, and offers hope.

Thank you! 

Training in Nepal
Training in Nepal
Follow up by video conference with DRC
Follow up by video conference with DRC

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