Trauma Counseling for Child Survivors of War

by I Live Again Uganda
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Trauma Counseling for Child Survivors of War
Trauma Counseling for Child Survivors of War
Trauma Counseling for Child Survivors of War
Trauma Counseling for Child Survivors of War
Trauma Counseling for Child Survivors of War

The laughter of children maybe one of the best sounds in the world.   After two years of schools being closed in Uganda due to COVID-19, we are perhaps just as excited as the children that schools were finally reopened at the beginning of 2022.  Schools across the country have reopened and this includes schools in the refugee settlement where I Live Again Uganda is providing essential mental health services to refugees from South Sudan.  

This year, we are working directly with a few schools in the refugee settlement and the surrounding community around these schools to invest directly into mental health of child refugees from South Sudan.  The school's have been more than happy to invite the team of I Live Again Uganda each week to help children express and heal from the trauma they have faced due to war and their rush to find safety in Uganda.  

Recently, our team had the opportunity to provide programs for a young group of refugee children (10 years of age and below) to help them build and grow in confidence.  We played games, shared stories and invited them to share a story with the group.  The children shared cultural stories that Elders from their tribe would share them with.  Storytelling is a rich part of the culture of South Sudan.  Cultural stories  and storytelling are essential to not only continue to build culture and traditions, but they also hold a deep and meaningful life lesson.  We heard stories of hippopotamus’, lions, elephants, snakes, chameleons and more!  It was a wonderful time together where children were built up in confidence in their sharing before the group.  Parents and leaders of the children were able to witness the children’s program and shared with their joy of our coming to help their children.  We even had the opportunity to distribute t-shirts to children which were received with much excitement.  

We cannot provide these programs without the generous support of donors.  
Please know how grateful we are to hear that beautiful sound again… the sound of children laughing. 


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Cecila is 12 years old.  She's is a child refugee from South Sudan and has been attending I Live Again Uganda's Empower Kids - Trauma Counseling Program. 

"I can still remember very well the day war broke between the government and the rebels near our home.  The gunshots lasted for over three days..."  Cecila shared with our team.

At the time of the attack, Cecila was with her mother and her sister.  As the gunshots got closer and closer to their home, they ran into the bush and a forested area to hide and find safety.  Their Father was not with them.  They kept wondering where he was and if he was alive. 

"We didn't know where he was.  We worried that he could have been killed. We stayed in the bush for two days.  When things were quiet and looked calm we came out.  When we arrived back at our home, we found our Father was alive! We were so happy!  But, the war was still on going."  A few days after that attack, Ceclia's Father encouraged her, her mother and her siblings to run to Uganda.  The war was intensifying and he wasn't sure if they would be safe.

Cecila, her mother and her siblings made the long journey to the Ugandan border.  From there, she and her family have come to live in the refugee settlement where I Live Again Uganda is providing Trauma Counseling Programs.  She's learning healthy ways of handling what she has witnessed and been through not only in South Sudan, but as she fled with her family and is now in the refugee settlement.  She's learning how to handle her emotions, to express what she has been through and what she is feeling about it all in a safe place with safe people.  She's learning how forgiveness can change her life and the power of hope.  She's visioning and planning for good future.

For 12 year old Cecilia, life in Uganda seems "easy because there is no war here."  Her Mother has decided that it is not safe for them to return to South Sudan. Cecila, her mother and siblings have been given a small plot of land in the refugee settlement to plant some basic crops, live in a safe place and a chance to start life again.

When we asked Cecilia what her dream is for the future, she told us,
"I want to study and then one day work at ILA Uganda.  Then I can help those who are hopeless and bring peace among the different tribes of South Sudan."
We cannot help Cecilia or so many other children that have survived war without your generous support.
Thank you for you support!
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I Live Again Uganda is grateful to be able to continue to support children who have survived war thanks to our generous partners!


Uganda current hosts the most refugees on the continent of Africa.  With over 65% of the refugees from South Sudan being children, it is essential that we help pave the way for the positive future for each one of these children.  We have been grateful to be able to serve the future of South Sudan thorugh our children's programs!

I Live Again Uganda was able to provide group counseling support as well as one on one support to child refguees.  We take time to listen to the challenges they faced while still living in South Sudan and the challenges they face now living as a refugee.  Despite all these challenges one of the main things we share with those we counsel is the importance of having hope and dream for the future.  We have enjoyed hearing the passion from these children about their dreams to return home as Doctors, Teachers, Policemen and many more!  One child told us, "My dream is that one day I will become a Doctor.  Then, I will go back home and help my people." 

During COVID-19, there has been an increase in domestic violence in many homes.   I Live Again Uganda was able to support not only children dealing with these struggles in their homes, but also to bring counseling and support to their parents to alleviate conflicts in the home. 

It wouldn't be a children's program without games and fun!   I LIve Again regulary uses games to help children to not only set their minds beyond the trauma they have experienced, but also to help with collaboration, communication and teambuilding.  South Sudan has struggled with tribalism.  Tribalism has lead to conflict and violence, and these are the main reasons so many have fled the nation and have come into Uganda.  As we play games together, we work hard to help the children recognize that every tribe has struggled and each one can work together for a better South Sudan.  Games, teambuilding, sharing activies all help us achieve this.

I Live Again Uganda has been working in partnership with some schools in the refugee settlement.  Recently, we were able to distribute soccer/football uniforms for an entire team, soccer balls, soccer nets, basketball nets and even a volley ball net thanks to our generous partners! 

We cannot do what we do without friends and partners that stand with us, and the children we have the privilege to serve!  Thank you for your support!

Distribution of Soccer Nets
Distribution of Soccer Nets
ILA Staff With Students in their new uniforms.
ILA Staff With Students in their new uniforms.
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As Uganda continues to host the most refuguees in all of Africa, the majority of the refugees in Uganda are from South Sudan.  65% of refugees from South Sudan are children.  While this young generation has witnessed and been exposed to the devasting affects of war, we are honored to be part of their journey towards restored hope and healing. 

With the support of generous donors we have been able to provide counseling programs for children who have fled their home in South Sudan and are living in one of the refugee settlements in northern Uganda.  We are so grateful that we have been able to witness hope come alive in the children attending our programs. 

Our team has been able to provide art therapy and dance therapy programs to children in the refugee settlement.  Over 200 children have been able to participate in these programs.   Often times it is difficult for children to formulate words to describe or share their past trauma, so we provide other means to give them a chance to express what they have endured.  We engage and encourage children to express themselves thorugh the drawing of their experiences in South Sudan as a way of engagement and expression.  Its is through their drawings that we can begin to explore and encourage the releasing of trauma.  Dance programs that we have provided are bringing relief in the minds of those in attendence, helping them release their trauma through physical activity and focusing on a fun activity, not on their past.

With the partnership and support of generous donors, we have also been able to engage and serve a local school in the refugee settlement.  This has included the distribution of school bags and school supplies to students in need.  These items have been of great encouragement to the children and the school.

We wanted to share one of the many stories that we hear regularly from the child refugees we serve from South Sudan....

James was 13 years of age and at home with his family when the rebels attacked his village in South Sudan.  As the rebels attacked, he ran for his own safety and lost connection with his family members.  He found himself at a UN base seeking safety and shelter while the fighting continued in his village.  James remained at the base for one week.  After that time, he was assured that the fighting had stopped in his village and it was safe for him to return home. Upon his return home, his family was gone and his home burnt to the ground.  There was nothing and no one left.   He had no money or any way to survive.  He found a near by neighbour and negotiated a selling of a plot of his family’s land.  After selling the plot of land, James used those finances to help him find his way to Uganda.  

Upon arriving in Uganda he was taken to the refugee settlement where I Live Agian Uganda is serving.  James was placed with others within in his tribe.  He had come to Uganda alone. He has no relatives or family with him. James is unsure if his family is alive or not.  I Live Again Uganda began providing art therapy and dance programs in the community where he lives in the refugee settlement. 

“This program has helped me.  Its giving me hope.  I remember how things were in South Sudan, but you are showing me that I can still have a future.  We have been drawing things about our dream home - our future and I believe that it can be bright.” James - 13yrs

We cannot help children like James without your support.  Thank you for giving to restore healing, hope and identity to children who have survived war.

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Organization Information

I Live Again Uganda

Location: Gulu - Uganda
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Gulu, Gulu Uganda
$5,198 raised of $40,000 goal
29 donations
$34,802 to go
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