Apr 5, 2021

A slow return to normalcy + more mental health trainings on the horizon

Students wash hands (Photo: The Independent)
Students wash hands (Photo: The Independent)

COVID-19 Update in Uganda

Although many wealthy countries in the Global North are vaccinating their citizens, the situation is vastly different in Uganda. With a population over 42 million, only 864,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been released to Uganda by the World Health Organization.

The Ugandan Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) has issued a plan for a slow, phased return to school, however most students still remain at home. With few resources for distance learning outside of urban areas, the MoES outlines a 3-year accelerated catch up for lost school time with school returning to "normal" in 2024. 

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Our Work & Our Partners

While COVID-19 still prevents us from safely resuming in-person mental health workshops at schools across rural Uganda, we've been invited to continue training Ugandan healthcare workers and community educators specializing in gender equality - on how to heal and prevent cycles of trauma and gender based violence. Those trainings will take place in the next months. Stay tuned!

Our partner, Nyaka, has expanded from 2 to 4 healing centers, providing counseling support to survivors of sexual and gender based violence. 

We're creating an online training platform with self-paced, culturally adaptable mental health content - like the Emotional First Aid lesson (photo below) - so that organizations can get certified in trauma-informed care, and train their own staff and community members. 

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Gratitude & Sustainability

In this rapidly changing world, sustainability is everything. While many nonprofits like ours have been hit by the economic recession and loss of funding, the demand for mental health resources has increased exponentially. We're working hard to adapt, innovate, and stay the course -- so our partners, communities, and most of all, everyday survivors of trauma and violence know that they still matter. 

So, we thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for your ongoing support and advocacy! 

#StandWithSurvivors

PS - We've changed our name to Healing Together - a bold declaration that reflects our mission to unlock the power of everyday people to build resilient communities and heal cycles of trauma and violence. 

Lesson on how to deliver Emotional First Aid
Lesson on how to deliver Emotional First Aid

Links:

Mar 24, 2021

Doubling down on mental health support in Nepal

Training about the physical impact of trauma
Training about the physical impact of trauma

While the number of COVID-19 cases has flattened in Nepal, the social impact of the lockdown has been devasting. Up to 90% of Nepali's have been out of work - leading to an increase in alcohol abuse among men and women, increased household violence, and a significant increase in child marriages.

The good news: more and more local citizens are realizing the critical need for mental health support. We are inspired by conversations happening in social media, and even at the local and national government level, about how to support a country that is suffering in ways that are both visible and invisible. 

Online Training: Making training affordable and accessible

To meet the demand for resources, our local team will launch our online mental health training in Nepal in just a matter of a weeks! The first of its kind in the country, our training will offer individuals and community organizations with a self-paced trauma recovery certification - equipping them with knowledge about the impact of trauma and violence, tools to heal themselves, and skills to support survivors in their families and communities. The entire training is offered in the Nepali language, with localized cultural content, and is free of charge.  

In-Person Trainings: Training hundreds to heal thousands

Thanks to the passion of our country manager and Healing Advocate, Suresh Chhetry, we'll be offering 10 in-person trauma healing workshops to over 300 teachers from 80 schools in rural Nepal, reaching tens of thousands of students. 5 of these workshops are scheduled to take place (adhering to social distancing protocols) before the end of the Nepali calendar year in mid-July. 

Name Change & Local Registration

Finally, we're excited to share that we've changed our name from Gratitude Alliance to Healing Together - to more clearly reflect our mission to democratize community-based mental health and resilience resources. Our local chapter in Nepal is now called Healing Together Nepal and, thanks to your support, is now registered in the country with a local Nepali Board of Directors to oversee its activities. 

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We thank you for your ongoing support as we innovate and learn about the most effective ways to reach communities in need during the ongoing pandemic, and beyond. Your investment in community mental health is changing lives - and helping us build a blueprint for scaling mental health support that we've replicated in East Africa and the USA, as well.

Namaste!

Training about the neuroscience of trauma
Training about the neuroscience of trauma
Yay! We're registered in Nepal!
Yay! We're registered in Nepal!
Meeting w/gov't to discuss mental health support
Meeting w/gov't to discuss mental health support
Nov 20, 2020

Healing Advocates learn to combat gender based violence

The newest class of Healing Advocates in Uganda
The newest class of Healing Advocates in Uganda

As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in East Africa, so too have reports of gender based violence.

With your generous support, we collaborated with our longtime partner in southwest Uganda, Nyaka, to train 38 more local leaders - from healthcare workers to community educators specializing in gender equality - on how to heal and prevent cycles of trauma and gender based violence

Both male and female participants engaged in lively discussions about how, in some villages, women and girls don't have the right to use a pit latrine (a toilet that consists of a hole in the ground) and are denied the right to an education. 

Participants also learned how to give Emotional First Aid and Counseling to survivors of violence, and discussed how "Hurt People Hurt People" - therefore healing trauma prevents further violence. 

Upon graduation, the participants declared their commitments to the community and what they learned from the training:

"As a Healing Advocate I will help other mean speak up about violence."

"I will help the church in emotional first aid and promote gender equality."

"I have learnt the steps of giving [emotional] first aid to traumatised victims."

"I have learnt that before giving help to others, I must first heal my own trauma."

Our local trainers were equally inspired:

"The participants were busy concentraing and taking notes as they watched the videos. This will change many people's mindset for the better. I wish this training can be taken all over the country." 

With momentum from this experience, we look forward to supporting Nyaka with further trainings for Boda Boda (motorcycle taxi) drivers - who are often the first crisis responders for survivors of violence in the community.

Thank you for your continued support! Your generosity is empowering whole communities to transform violence into healing. 

With gratitude,
Gratitude Alliance

Discussing the impact of violence on Mothers
Discussing the impact of violence on Mothers
Learning how trauma & violence are inherited
Learning how trauma & violence are inherited
Practicing emotional first aid & counseling skills
Practicing emotional first aid & counseling skills
 
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