IPB June 2023 narrative report By Icishatse Elie Rodrigue 1. Introduction At IPB, two workshops which dealt with trauma management and healing within small groups of people were conducted in the months of June 2023. The workshops took place on June 13th to 15th and 20th to 22nd, one following the other. Forty participants among them seven (7) males and thirty three (33) females were fully present. 2. Contextual background Like other societies in the global south, Burundi is a collective society that values family ties. With the poverty that keeps deepening, family ties become more and more a source of survival. So, anything that takes the lives of family members, either a war or a disease can quickly transformed itself in a traumatic event with severe psycho-social and economic consequences. In this report, we revisited stories of such separations of family members that precede trauma suffering and how HROC workshops contribute in creating a safe space where the traumatic events can be shared and the lives lost been remembered. 3. Key stories of success • Marie My husband went to Gitega and was killed and I did not get the news. Unfortunately, some strangers kept his body and looked for me. I finally was able to reach his body and we buried him. Around the same time, my mother passed away too and, unfortunately for her, we failed to bury her because it was during the war. The two simultaneous death wounded me and I am still grieved by them. Evangeline My mother passed away but before that she has insisted that I should show her a grandchild. Unfortunately, she passed away before I got one. Each time I remember this, I feel a lot of pain. • Anne Last January, I lost my elder sister and I was grief that she did not see my first born. I had always taken care of her babies when she was out working and it has been a wish from her to see and take care of my children in return. But, she passed away before I got them. Also, I am grieved that we are no longer together to help our mother who is old and needs someone to take care of her. Now that I have my own kids and those of my late elder sister to take care of, I am unable to fully commit myself to my mother and it pains me. Since I learnt about trauma symptoms, I saw that I need trauma healing. Reason why I decided to share this for the first time. I will continue sharing it with facilitators and I’m glad that majority of them are women 4. Conclusion There is no doubt that the separation of families via man-made reasons especially war leave wounds and despair among remaining family members. The promises and wishes unmet and the difficult that follow such deaths make the healing process difficult. Participants in HROC workshops have an opportunity to come together, learn about trauma management and building trust among themselves. Through exercises of remembering and commemoration, participants can see their beloved ones valued and their stories shared. Majority of them will continue to be followed through the Self Help Groups. July 16th, 2023
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