Intergenerational transmission of trauma is a pressing issue in many (post-) conflict countries, including Rwanda. When it is not addressed appropriately, it can lead to cycles of violence. In order to prevent future conflicts, mental health and psychosocial support for youth is urgently needed. This project will focus on youth between 10 and 24 years old, who are affected by the historical background of their families. The project will use community-based sociotherapy as the main approach.
What is often overlooked, is that the consequences of the genocide are not only affecting the generation that went through the traumatic events, but they have become a legacy the second generation has to deal with. At the community level, sentiments of anger, hatred and revenge are transmitted from one generation to the other. We also see that children and youth are much affected personally to the trauma of their parents, which in some cases leads to school drop-out or destructive behaviour.
To prevent re-occurring cycles of violence and support children and youth psychosocially, there is a strong need for addressing the intergenerational transmission of trauma at the grassroots level. In this project we will train members of the community to facilitate sociotherapy groups particularly children and youth at the community and in schools. The groups will consist of both children from genocide survivors and genocide perpetrators and the facilitators will use cultural games and stories.
The project will reach over 1500 children and youngsters between 10 and 24 years old who will participate in 15 sociotherapy sessions. Having participated in these sessions leads to improved mental health and psychosocial wellbeing and allows participants to (re-)build meaningful relationships with their family members and other youth. This will have a positive effect on their contribution to sustain peace in their community and breaking the cycle of violence.