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Apr 29, 2019

Aches and pains melt away with TRE

TRE community facilitators in training
TRE community facilitators in training

Since our last report in January 2019, our Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) community facilitators have been hard at work and the next round of training has started. Thanks to the funds raised by our GlobalGiving family, they are bringing relief to individual clients as well as Hlokomela field staff on a weekly basis.

Success stories

A local lodge owner referred one of their employees to Hlokomela for TRE after being through a very traumatic experience. The lady is about 38 years old, does not have a child of her own and suffered a miscarriage last year. After so many years of trying to conceive at all, she has been struggling to accept the miscarriage.

One of Hlokomela’s in-house TRE facilitators, Tshepo Lewele, did TRE with her and after the very first session, she had a peaceful nap after a long time of not being able to close her eyes during the day due to flashbacks of the trauma.

Two days after the session she called the facilitator and said that she is very thankful for the TRE because she is now feeling positive about life, and TRE has helped her to accept and move on.

Training new TRE community facilitators

Word about last year’s pilot Community Facilitators TRE training has spread and we had lots of applicants who wanted the benefits of the 6-month program for themselves and for people in their community. They wanted to experience the release of years of tension and stress and begin to heal from trauma, which is all pervasive in the Limpopo rural communities.

We were able to select 14 applicants from the Hoedspruit area to attend the training 1 ½ hours away in Tzaneen, Limpopo. There, in a church hall, Dr Erika Coertzen is teaching a total of 23 participants (9 from the Greater Tzaneen area) on 9 Fridays from March 2019 to September 2019. We have 2 translators, Kgopotso and Elizabeth, both TRE qualified, and a number of TRE facilitators who volunteer their time to assist in this exciting and rewarding project.

In the first 3 training days, we have seen the 4 men and 19 women start to process individual traumas within the safe space of the group. One mother was finally able to release the grief for her stillborn child, another woman took two sessions, filled with both crying and laughing, to let go of a knife attack that injured her badly. However, usually, people don’t know and don’t need to know what specific trauma and stress they are releasing. It is the great advantage of TRE as a modality that it evokes a physiological body reflex and does not require talking about the trauma.

Participants find that pains and headaches are disappearing, they are reporting better sleep, higher energy levels, fewer menstruation problems and improved sex! These are usually the first signs of reduced tension in the body and as the process deepens it can lead to more peace of mind, clearer thinking, more balanced temperaments and less anger and frustration.

Last year’s graduates have a standing invitation to join and Grace, a social worker, came recently to share her experiences. Her insight and personal growth with TRE is inspiring!

Links:

Apr 18, 2019

A washing line full of bras for our patients!

Washing line full of bras donated to Hlokomela!
Washing line full of bras donated to Hlokomela!

Hlokomela Women’s Clinic is going from strength to strength and with the support of the GlobalGiving family, we are able to reach new heights, some of which I take pride in sharing with you today.

Bravolution Update

We are proud to say that we are receiving bra donations on a regular basis at Hlokomela Women’s Clinic! We have been able to do fittings and give bras away to 10 patients since the project started. Very recently, some Brazilian visitors donated a whole washing line of new and used bras, over 300 of them!

We also plan to start an underwear drive in the near future, where people can donate new underwear to the vulnerable patients of the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic. The need is so much greater than we can ever imagine!

A baby was born…

A huge part of what makes Hlokomela such a wonderful organisation is the ability of the staff to handle challenges. The personality of the organisation allows for people to grow, develop skills and with regular staff/team building events, we become equipped to deal with challenges and “out of the ordinary” situations as they arise.

In February one morning a woman (9 months pregnant and fully dilated) walked into the Hlokomela Clinic. Keep in mind that we do not offer maternity services as yet so this was not a regular event at all! The staff quickly assessed the patient and found that she was moments away from giving birth. With quick thinking, improvising and amazing teamwork, a little baby girl was born. Healthy and happy! This was truly a joyous day. Mommy and baby were taken to the Tintswalo Hospital with an ambulance for evaluation after the delivery.

Cancer patient receives treatment

During March, 3 patients were transported to the Helen Joseph Hospital for further testing and consultations with their doctors. One of our patients *Grace Ngobeni, came to the Women’s Clinic in October 2018. She did not present with a significant mass but had a strange re-occurring nipple discharge. A slide was sent to the lab and low and behold, the results came back positive for carcinoma. After undergoing ultrasound, mammograms and numerous testing at the Helen Joseph Hospital in Johannesburg, she received her final results and it is indeed breast cancer. The staging and treatment plan is yet to be finalised. If not for the Breast Health Foundation, GlobalGiving, Rotary and the Tshemba Foundation, for making the work we do possible, this patient may never have been diagnosed.

*Grace Ngobeni is a pseudonym used to protect the identity of the patient.

 

In October 2018 a 4D scan was done on a 40-year-old pregnant woman. During our consultation, she disclosed that her doctor had ordered some blood tests to screen her unborn child for the possibility of Down’s syndrome. This test is mostly indicated for women of advanced maternal age.

The blood test came back positive. The patient and her husband took the news badly. Although the blood test is just a screening and a definitive answer would only be obtained by means of an amniocentesis test, the family was nevertheless very distraught.

The risks of the amniocentesis procedure were weighed up and the family decided not to have the procedure done. Over the past few months, the patient visited the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic for scans during which I also counselled her, tried to comfort her and gave her some facts and cleared myths about Down’s syndrome.

By the end of her pregnancy, she felt ready and more equipped for raising a child with special needs.

On Monday 28th January 2019 this patient came to show off her precious little baby boy.

The final test results of the baby came in and this little boy it turns out was born without the extra chromosome that would have caused him to have Down’s syndrome.

Keeping sex workers safe

At Hlokomela we are committed to providing good quality health care to sex workers. This is something we do without judgement or prejudice. Due to the high risk female sex workers face in developing cervical cancer, we focus on involving our Sex Work Project peer educators in keeping a database of referrals to the Women’s Clinic. This helps assure that no sex worker misses her annual Pap smear. This also allows us to consult and provide treatment for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), arrange Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) if needed and just give some emotional support. It also creates an environment where our women feel safe and comfortable to talk about their social or domestic problems, report abuse or just ask health related questions.

CANSA Shavathon – it’s all for a good cause!

On Saturday 13 April 2019, Maruleng Auto in Hoedspruit in conjunction with Hlokomela hosted a CANSA Shavathon. This was held at the Maruleng Auto premises in Hoedspruit, Limpopo, South Africa. This is a drive that motivates people to get involved in supporting cancer awareness. By donating an amount of money, you can have your hair sprayed in different colours, or on a more serious note, you could have your hair shaved off. The hair then gets used to produce wigs for cancer patients who lose their hair due to chemo therapy.

On this day, Hlokomela Women’s Clinic sold cupcakes as this was an opportunity to make the public aware of the work we do as an organisation. We also shared information about breast and cervical cancer. All the proceeds of the day were generously donated to the Hlokomela Women’s Clinic.

Hlokomela staff at CANSA Shavathon
Hlokomela staff at CANSA Shavathon

Links:

Feb 19, 2019

And we are off!!

Fund raising through GlobalGiving 

We can’t believe it is already 3 months since the 27th of November and the huge success of GlobalGiving’s 2018 GivingTuesday. The response was fantastic and we reach far more than the personal target we set for ourself. We were able to raise a whopping $2400. We are humbled by the amazing support. With the funding we raised through GlobalGiving we will be able to pay for training for three seamstresses, buy the fabric for the first batch of 2000 reusable sanitary pads, and pay our team a salary for the next year.

 

Selection of staff

With the money raised we were able to start the process of selecting candidates for the our project. We decided that we would only start with three candidates to get the initial training to make the first batch of sanitary pads. We picked three wonderful ladies that we knew from a previous project, that all had some form of formal training in sewing, making them the perfect candidates for the first stage of the project. They also have hearts of gold making them a joy to work with.

 

Training

 

Although our first three candidates are all skilled seamstresses, making reusable sanitary pads is a complicated project. A lot of emphasis is put on quality control. Making a high quality project is of the upmost importance. These pads must be able to serve the recipients for up to three years. To insure that our team delivers the best product possible, we are in talks with another organisation in the reusable sanitary pad sector, to help us train our team of seamstresses. Instead of reinventing the wheel, we want to learn from the best. We aim to have this partnership locked down in the coming weeks and to share the exiting details with you in our next report.

 

Equipment

We are lucky enough to already have 4 sewing machine available for our team to work on. These machine will need to be maintained and funds for this would need to be raised either through the Global Giving platform or through funds generated through the selling of reusable sanitary pads.

 

Distribution

Because Hlokomela's main focus is health care, we already have an existing network for distribution as our not-for-profit medical clinics reach more than 20000 young women and girls annually. We have however also been in talks with numerous other organisations in regards to the distribution of our sanitary pads. There are multiple organisations in our area already giving out disposable sanitary pads to school girls and women. The projects have shown interest in moving away from disposable sanitary pads and to rather give out reusable pads. This is a great opportunity for us to further diversify our distribution channels, but also to have these organisations spend there money on our pads rather than spending it on disposable products. This gives us the chance to make the projects slightly more sustainable and helps us build a business out of reusable sanitary pads that will in the long run help our team of seamstresses with permanent employment.

 

This project is off to a great start and we would like to thank our GlobalGiving friends and donors for your amazing support over the last 3 months!  You make all the difference to our work here at the Hlokomela.

 

 

 
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