Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi

by Innovations in Peacemaking Burundi Vetted since 2018 Top Ranked Effective Nonprofit
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
Reconciling Youth and Police in Bujumbura, Burundi
A prayer for those who shared their experiences.
A prayer for those who shared their experiences.

The violence between the police and youth demonstrated how much the cycle of violence and revenge has rooted. IPB believes that the lasting way of breaking it is “to create a future generation that is healed from trauma, mastering the peaceful management and responsible leadership”.

To reach there, universities ‘students should play the remarkable role. For this end, IPB  organized a Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities basic workshop with university students from Kamenge Campus, aiming at (i) helping them recognize and understand trauma, (ii) knowing how to deal with it, (iii) knowing that life must continues after a traumatic event, and (iv) helping them to reconnect themselves to their communities and rebuild society. Twenty one (21) students were present among the 10 females and 11 males.

Following are some testimonies from the basic workshop

Gilbert:

In my life, I didn’t have trust and love towards my mother because I didn’t have the chance of living with her. I was 2 years old when she divorced with my father. At that time, beside me, my mother was having another son which means my young brother. This situation touched me a lot because both my father and mother remarried respectively to another wife and husband. I stayed with my father. The stepmother tortured me in a way that I can’t get words to describe. I was still young at that time but I had to fetch water, cultivate and do other house works. Consequently, I was sick with a cough and I still have some pains. I lived in that situation during 7 months. When I started the high school, I took a decision of dropping out from the school due to the life I was living. In fact, my stepmother was telling me that if I continued to study instead of going to cultivate she was going to stop giving me food. And, she did it in a way that sometimes, I was staying 2 days without eating anything because I attended a school. Whenever my father asked me if I got food, my answer was "yes" to avoid exacerbation of the situation. I could not reveal the truth because my stepmother had told me that she will kill me whenever I could break that secret. I kept living in such situation up to the completion of my high school. Meanwhile, when I was in the pre-final year, I asked my father the cause of his divorce with my mother. He responded to me that they quarreled with each other and my mother decided to leave our house. She went at her family home and after one week, my father took the decision of bring her back. Unfortunately, he found my mother had re married to another man. Then, my father didn’t have another choice except looking for another wife. After, I took a decision of asking my mother the cause of her divorce with my father. Surprisingly, she responded nothing. From that day, I was shocked by such kind of reaction of my mother and I got hatred towards her because she didn’t even comfort me after telling her all the problems caused by my stepmother.  I reached to the point that whenever I met my mother, I was calling her in her name while greeting her which is unfair in Burundi culture. Even on the phone, I could unhook her call or refuse categorically her greetings. 

However, after the teachings received in this basic HROC workshop, I really changed and I understand now that it is all about trauma. I decided to forgive my mother together with the children of my stepmother. I renounce committing revenge I had planned to the children from my stepmother. Therefore, I am thankful for this teaching as they helped me a lot. Thank you!

Divine

First of all, I thank people who sponsored this important workshop. As universities, I know we can’t afford to pay for it reason why we come to attend it freely without any charge. During the three days’ workshop, I come to learn a lot of things which will help me in my future. Something which made me happy in this workshop is the fact that I got to know how my psychological state is and how I should help myself to overcome trauma. Now I know the way I should help others by informing about trauma healing with love and empathy. Before, I had a problem. Whenever a person came to me and shared with me his/her difficulties of life, I could help him/her but then, I remained with those difficulties in my mind. I couldn’t stop thinking about them and, at the end of the day, I couldn’t find peace in my heart. After participating in this HROC basic workshop, I got to know the causes, symptoms and consequences of trauma. We were told also about the secondary trauma when listening to tough trauma experiences. I learned how I can behave in front of people with such problems and the behavior to display after listening to them. Before coming here, I helped people with problems and among them; some took their problems as nothing. For instance, I have a friend of mine who told me how he killed people. He was with them while their grandfather was being burned inside the house. Not only that, he saw his mother being killed and, at that time, his father was run away overcame the death. After the death of her mother, she didn’t get someone to talk about what happened to her. Later, even his father died beside him due to sorrow. The worse thing is that he didn’t get an opportunity of discussing with his father about the death of his mother. That friend and I got to know each other last year in the pre-final class of high school. After listening to him while he was telling me about all those problems of his life, I tried to tell him that after any trauma experience/ event life continues. I advised him to continue his studies. He finally overcame from all those problems and now he is living his life well.

I thank a lot IPB for helping us to understand how we can behave in front of people who experiences traumatic events.

Denis

My testimony is about my father who died in 2010 due to the sickness. He spent 3 days under medical treatment in a hospital, and then he passed away. I visited him at the hospital and I saw that he was doing well. I even told other family members that he could come back home the next day as he even accompanied me when I was going back home. After 3 hours, the one who was taking care of him came at home in a hurry with another story about the sudden death of my father. I was shocked by this bad news and for me; it was as if that was the end of our lives because we could not live without the support from my father as our family was poor. I remembered how my father was giving gifts whenever I succeeded at school. Then, I thought I could not continue with my studies. Glory to God, I continued my studies as I had an old brother who completed his studies and have supported me up to now. Something that shocked me more was the fact that my father died before I finished my studies. In fact, in my thinking, I had a vision of thanking him for all what he did for me.

After following the workshop of HROC, I feel very good as I had an opportunity of bring out all the pains that I had. That is why; I invite everyone who has problems to find a trustful person to whom he can tell his/her traumatic experiences of the past and his/her life will change.  

Rita

In my life, I was traumatized by many things including the loss of many people starting with my father during the fighting between rebel movements and the royal army. My father had 4 sisters and he was the only one son in his family. Among his sisters, one became a nun. After the death of my father and two sisters, the nun gave up her call in order to help the orphans left by the missed ones. I was traumatized by the death of one of my cousin called Odette. She was in the last year of her secondary school. She was mistreated by her stepmother at the extent of poisoning her and she was brought at the hospital. My aunt asked me to visit her at the hospital. Then, when I reached there, I saw Odette in a painful state. I called my aunt to tell her that Odettte was suffering so much. After short time, the nurses came in they urge me to buy milk for her. She didn’t drink it as she was in agonies. When the nurses came back, they requested me to leave the room and few minutes after, they informed me that Odette passed away. As alone, I couldn’t figure out how to behave in a situation like that. I called my aunt and I told her that Odette passed away and my aunt feel into  unconsciousness. Following Odette’s death my aunt stopped the help she was offering to the orphans. The brother of Odette was disturbed by her death. I was also traumatized by her death. Today in our family many people are suffering from trauma including myself.

I’m thankful for IPB which helped me to speak out all of this. I wish there should be follow up to reach a full healing and learn more about assisting others as I wish I should assist my people in my family and community.

Many thank for IPB and its donor

Students at the HROC workshop.
Students at the HROC workshop.
Group photo after the follow up session.
Group photo after the follow up session.

Context.

In responding to the new urgent calling launched by headmasters of secondary schools in Bujumbura, IPB/HROC is continuing to conduct workshops and follow up sessions to implant peace clubs there as a way of assisting psychologically students affected by the 2015 elections crisis and contribute to restore social cohesion within the community.

One (1) HROC basic workshop was conducted (i) to help students at Cibitoke secondary school recognize and understand trauma, (ii) help them know how to deal with trauma, (iii) help them to know that life continues after a traumatic event, and (iv) help them to reconnect themselves to their communities and rebuild society. Twenty five (25) students were present among the 15 females and 10 males

One (1) HROC follow up was organized in Musaga secondary school and 50 participants were there, among them 21 males and 29 females.

Following are some testimonies from the basic workshop

YVES

What traumatized me in my life was the death of my older brother. When this bad news happened, I denied it as I was unable to accept this because he was everything to me. He died suddenly when I was finishing my Primary school and I was very confused without knowing who was going to continue supporting my daily life.  Due to the fact that I was thinking about him many times, I used to meet him in dreams and it was tough for me when I woke up and find that I was dreaming. My behaviors changed by developing isolation, blame and guilt within myself.  Since my family was accusing a neighbor to have empoisoned him, whenever I missed like school fees, my idea was to revenge one day. After learning about trauma and its root causes including bad thing we do or experience, about JOHARI’s window and the fact that life must continue after experiencing a traumatic event, I decide to become a peacemaker within my community.  To reach there I have to deal with my today’s trauma caused by my old brother death and teach about good cohabitation

CHELLA  

What wounded me mostly was a disappointment from my young sister who gave birth to a bastard child. In my region, this is considered to be a curse for the family. My father mistreated all of us and mainly my mother accusing her of not having disciplined her daughter. My father was very disappointed as he expected to get cows as dower comparing how much beautiful my young sister was and how she was admired on her appearance. The more she grew up she became more and more pretty.  People, who saw it, did not understand her beauty.  Looking at the bad and difficult conditions she put us in, I reached a time I was not able to talk to her. Today our family is total disorganized. My father refused to support my sisters and I by the fact that he disqualified all females in our home. This affected me and I have at least five out of the symptoms of trauma we come to learn. After this three day’s trauma healing workshop, I come to understand myself in matter of trauma and I come to learn also how I have to assist my family members including my father. 

It was very crucial to learn that after a traumatic event, life must continue. I know it’s hard but I’m going to afford it. I advocate IPB to give more knowledge that should help us sensitize these good teachings which were more needed for us who were born from traumatized parents and are transmitting this trauma to the new generation we are.

Some testimonies from the follow up session

Livin

One day I was going back home from school. I saw a young boy sitting under a tree near by the road. I approached him and asked him why he isolated from others because there were other young boys playing football. He told me he was hungry and he is an orphan.  I took him to our home and we ate together. Since then, I built a friendship with him as I found he lives not far from our home. Through sharing and following what I learnt from HROC basic workshop, I assisted him psychologically as through our sharing I recognized some trauma symptoms.  In his today’s testimony, he uses to tell me that I helped him to not fall in banditry or brigandage and other kind of deviations. 

Beside that I assisted my family members too. More thanks to IPB for this topical teaching     

CHIMENE

I am the Dean of this school. Before attending the Trauma healing workshop, I was not able to deal properly with the problems of new students of school.  Today the situation changed in using the technical tools learnt during the basic HROC workshop such as  active listening, ways of managing anger and emotions. I am able to know the problems encountered by newcomers  and the rest of students. If I see a student isolating himself /herself, I try to approach him/her to find out what is wrong with him/her and meet common solution. I know now constructive ways of communicating with school administrative board including the headmaster.

More thanks for IPB teachings

Trust walk during basic HROC workshop
Trust walk during basic HROC workshop
Session during Basic HROC Workshop
Session during Basic HROC Workshop
A session on personal trauma experience.
A session on personal trauma experience.

Giving Tuesday:

IPB would like to thank the 9 people who donated $1265 on Giving Tuesday. GlobalGiving then matched this with $188. Those who were unable to donate on Giving Tuesday may still do so as part of their End of Year giving.

Context

In responding to the new urgent calling launched by headmasters of secondary schools, IPB/HROC continued to conduct workshops and follow up sessions to implement a peace club in Musaga secondary schools.

HROC basic workshop

One (1) HROC basic workshop was conducted (i) to help students recognize and understand trauma, (ii) help them know how to deal with trauma, (iii) help them to know that life continues after a traumatic event, and (iv) help them to reconnect themselves to their communities and rebuild society. Eighteen (18) students, 11 females and 7 males, were present.

Testimonies from workshop

Huguette:

I was wounded by my father’s car accident. Before the accident occurred, we had a good daily life. I was 8 years old. After a year in the hospital he recovered and came back home. Without taking much time, he fell down in the washroom and broke his leg and went back to the hospital. During this second period in the hospital my mother and his children were refused to visit him. My father’s family members said that my mother was a curse. It’s because of her that our father was meeting many accidents. Whenever we tried to visit him or know about his situation, they showed us his photo lying in the hospital’s bed. He was finally healed and came back home. Our uncles did all what they could to chasse out my mother and to abandon us. All this created in us a strong trauma and its after-effects.

He came very angry against my mother accusing her of having refused to visit him in the hospital. When my mother tried to explain how our uncles refused her to visit him, my father refused to listen to her and started to beat her each night.  My mother was and still being accused unjustly by the whole father’s family members. Today our father is misusing the family’s belongings and is taking drugs and prohibits drinks. We live a very bad life today due to those behaviors and whenever I think about them, I start crying and isolating myself. We try our best to put our mother in positive mood in vain. She is overwhelmed by the situation. After attending this workshop, I realize why, my family members and I, are behaving negatively. It’s because of trauma.

I’m thankful that IPB organized this workshop at our school. I came to understand why our community is always in trouble with fear, and violence and revenge every time. My body and my soul came to get a cure.  I think that my crying is over and I assume that I’m going to fight against all things causing trauma to people in my community and schools I attend.

More thanks to IPB for providing teachings that restore youth morality and hope for a peaceful future  

Honnête

Since a young age, my mother and I live as widow and myself as orphan even though my father still was alive. He works on sewing machine the whole day and earns enough money to care for our family.  After work, the rest of his time is on the cabaret to drinking prohibited alcohol and drugs. When he reaches home late, he obligeseverybody to wake up sometimes to be beaten and insulted. He never eats at home and forbid us to claim for money for shopping. When we ask for that, he said each one must take care for himself or herself as he did.

I have one handicapped brother who needs a special care as he is very unhealthy. My father is always insulting him for nothing.

Our home is out of peace because of my father. I have made many tentative to deny his fatherhood at school and be legislated as an orphan but my heart didn’t accept. We are very tired because of him.

I hate every boy and all husbands with a name similar to my father’s one. I don’t think I should afford to be married since I think that all men are like my father. I’m not able to pass nearby where my father is. I must run away. After the three-day workshop on trauma healing, I find myself and my whole family members holding strong trauma and their consequences are there too. I tried to analyze why and our father’s behaviors are the source of it.

The question I still having is why my father is behaving like that? I assume that he is traumatized too.

I’m going to assist my family but I doubt about my father. I wish IPB/HROC should meet my father for assistance. From the teachings we come to gain, I assume that my wounds will be healed and those of my family too. I wish we should have more follow up sessions to learn more and extend our healing and ways of assisting others.

Jean Marie

I’m the first born  and the second child came later. Due to that delay, my  father’s family obliged him to look for a second wife. My mother was mistreated and this act wounded her since she  was innocent in what happened.  Finally my mother gave birth to a third and a fourth child. This didn’t change my father who finally left us and stayed with his second wife. Today we live under all kinds of problems. We are hated by everybody and my mother cries all the time and myself too. Our stepsisters and brothers are menancing us to leave our home and plot under our father’s influence. We don’t see what to do now since our father is denying us when we still were of a young age. I’m crying day and night. Today, I’m thankful for IPB  for organizing this workshop on trauma healing where I come to learn that after or during a traumatic event, “life must continue”. This is very important for me to know.  I’m going to take courage and make the same advices to my mother, brothers and sisters to afford the daily life in these conditions.

I commit myself to use what I come to gain.

HROC follow-up session               

 After four HROC basic workshops, one (1) HROC follow up session was organized with the purpose of establishing a Peace Club within the school and develop an action plan to be followed from now till September 2019. 44 participants were there, among them 23 males and 21 females.

After going through what they have learnt during the HROC basic workshop, participants shared their ideas about forming a peace club to follow the effects of the trainings and make an action plan  for a whole year on the way healing should be extended  in the whole school and out of it.

The two following students: a female and a male were nominated Dauphin Alaine IRAKOZE and Alain Divin HAKIZIMANA to coordinate the peace club (see photos above).

Some tasks of the peace club are the following:

-          Organizing needed workshops;

-          organizing  HROC follow up whenever it’s needed;

-          Connecting IPB/ HROC and the school officers,

-          Sensitizing trauma, its consequences and the way to overcome from it at school and within the community around the school and each ones neighborhood;

-          Organizing cultural events with dances, songs, sketches, drummers,  testimonies and so on

Conclusion and recommendations

In conclusion, IPB met in November 62 students, among them 30 male and 32 females. Recognizing different forms of trauma that men and women face, such as coercion to violence or sexual assault, participants wished to have some sessions split up by sex. Since facilitation is made out of three and at least one male or female in each one, the provisory solution was that anyone who wishes a special listening session should meet one facilitator of the same sex to share his or her traumatic experience. It was also convened that during the follow up, some sessions will be split up by sex.

Both participants and the headmaster appreciated positively the peace work accomplished.

A group photo after three-day workshop.
A group photo after three-day workshop.
Dauphin Alaine IRAKOZE, leader of Peace Club
Dauphin Alaine IRAKOZE, leader of Peace Club
Alain Divin HAKIZIMANA , leader of Peace Club
Alain Divin HAKIZIMANA , leader of Peace Club
Group photo after the follow up session.
Group photo after the follow up session.
Soldier and civilians in a small group discussion.
Soldier and civilians in a small group discussion.

Giving Tuesday is tomorrow and Innovatioins in Peacemaking - Burunids hopes that you can make a donation on that day. GlobalGiving will give a 12% to 15% bonus for donations made on Giving Tuesday that are made during that day Eastern Standard Time in the US.

Testimony by Jeanine

Before attending this workshop, I was having prejudices towards security agents. I have never imagined that there is among them anyone who can do something good, forgive or be a trustful person. From this time, I have completely changed my opinion due to the fact that among facilitators of IPB and HROC, there are courteous and wise policemen with a respectful look instead of fearful one. May our worthy God bless the ones who taught us and shared his testimony about forgiveness. This touched my heart and pushed me to change and to love policemen and soldiers.

I wish the organization to keep moving forward in its projects as the knowledge spread is useful and indispensable in the recovery process of trust among families, reconciliation, peace and sustainable development.  This is true for me since we benefited from one student who participated in HROC peace activities who then he guided us from the bad cohabitation which characterized us in our campus to mutual forgiveness and reconciliation.

I am glad of the time you reserved for sharing and listening to us as the fact of speaking about ourselves was for us a way of being deeply released and healed.

2018 accomplishment

At the national level  

  • IPB educated and accompanied university students from different ethnicities and political parties in the same province through dialogues for peace, mutual tolerance, and national reconciliation. This included the military and police universities.

At the Bujumbura city

  • IPB reconciled the youth and the security agents through peace dialogues and trauma healing sessions. These included local authorities and youth affiliated to the ruling political parties and its allies and those in the opposition.
  • IPB met with students from the secondary schools who were abusing their teachers and supervisors by giving them psychological assistance utilizing the HROC methodology.

All these activities include refresher trainings, dialogues sessions on the current situation, participative development of common action plans, and identification of economic opportunities for youth to address poverty, a driver of political conflict in Burundi today.

  • IPB succeeded to get all the parties to meet at the same table. This was the first step for all sides to overcome fear and to analyze the root causes of the violence and vengeance and propose ways to overcome them.
  • IPB trained students at the army and police universities in peace making and trauma healing.
  •  Promoted peace clubs within community universities located in each province to sensitize students on trauma healing and social and economic resilience.
  • Young who attended IPB peace activities in collaboration with IPB promoted peace initiatives in their own region.

What IPB hopes to experience in 2019

  • Initiate a Peace Club in each community university in all provinces including the Burundi national army and police universities.
  • Organize follow up activities to make the economic opportunities identified and action plans elaborated for this purpose.
  • A HROC-in-Schools program in Bujumbura and up country.
  • More peace dialogues to reconciling the youth and security agents.
  • More female participation in IPB’s peace activities and making speeches in the public sphere.
  • Work with handicapped students at universities.
  • Community celebrations, organized to bring participants together with members of the community at large including local authorities in order to build awareness of healing initiatives taking place in their community and to reach lasting social cohesion.
  • Playing football as a tool of mobilization and sensitization to bring different communities and identity groups together.

Thank you for your support for 2018 and2019.

We have attached the flier on IPB's 2018 Accomplishments and 2019 Goals. Please review it and then forward it to those whom you think might be interested in the work of Innovations in Peacemaking - Burundi. We have a goal of raising $3,000 on Giving Tuesday to continue our peacemaking activites during 2019.

We appreciate you help.


Attachments:
A closing exercise of the training.
A closing exercise of the training.

Head's up: November 27 is Giving Tuesday. GlobalGiving will be giving a bonus for eligible donations made on that day. So please donate on Giving Tuesday so that IPB can receive the bonus amount.

Context

A new urgent calling was launched by the headmaster of the Musaga secondary school. We should note that Musaga zone is where the 2015 demonstrations occurred with high intensity of violence and has taken longer than other areas to recover. The headmaster underlined the fact that students were taking drug and prohibited drinks withsexual assaults at a high level. As results, they are once again are abusing teachers and supervisors plus conflicts between themselves.

In responding to the call, three (3) HROC basic workshops were conducted during the month of October and 76 students attended.

The objectives of the workshops were (i) to help those students to recognize and understand trauma, (ii) help them to know how to deal with trauma, (iii) help them to know that life continues after a traumatic event, and (iv) help them to reconnect themselves to their communities and rebuild society.

During the workshop many exercises were played to creates spaces of safety and rebuild mutual trust and confidence and openness from one another. 

Testimonies:

Alain:

What wounded me mostly is the fact I lost my father very early when i was still a baby and grew up without him. The absence of a father allowed my paternal uncle to mistreat my mother until he took for himself our own plot left by my father. My mum was crying each time mainly in the evening because of this plot. When I was in the primary school it happened sometimes that I came back home finding my mother imprisoned by my uncle to forbid her to continue claiming for our plot. I used to cry many time by missing my mum at home and what to eat after class in afternoon.  

Besides all bad things I mention above, children of our uncle used to beat us each day as they were more mature than us and were strong enough since they had all necessaries and enough food to eat. My grief reaches a stage where I isolated myself each time and started to speak in my mind or sorrowful singing.

My mother endured all that struggles and stayed with us. She took us to school and me as the last one I’m preparing to end my secondary school. Others are attending university. What is bad now is that my mother is suffering the intestinal cancer and her health is very fragile.

Let me say, I’m glad to have participated in this three days workshop in trauma healing. Now I come to know how the situation we went through in our family wounded us and the consequences of that. What is more positive for me is to know how to assist myself and my family.

In conclusion, I come to see that many pulpils need to learn about trauma and its consequences on individual, family and community in general. They need to know how both victims and actors of violence are both traumatized and need assistance to overcome it.

Many thanks for IPB for its teaching which is building bridges between destroyed communities including young students.

Christella.

My strong grief comes from the fact that I lost all my parents when I was a little one. My father died when I was 3 years old and my mother when I was five and we were five children. These deaths were due to Burundi civil wars. Due to the problems we were in my old sister left the school and accepted a precocious marriage. Our old sister left us and we were crying without any consolation. Our parental uncle took us four to his home even though he didn’t have enough to take care for us along with his own children. At the age of attending school I missed school material and this multiply my grief too.

I prayed the lord to get courageous and I finally attended the school. I was always missing something among the needed material or school fees. I developed some negative behaviors such as isolation as I didn’t want to play with those still having parents. I didn’t want to hear someone tlling about good things from their parent. I have also problem on memorizing things and I don’t hane any positive thing for my future. I have fear with me of dying any time.

Following the teaching from this three days workshop I fell a little bit trust and hope of the future. I fell also courageous to fight for a better future by studying more and more.

I feel also that my grief is released at a certain stage. I will continue to assist myself to widen my healing. I’m going to help my old brother and sisters as they have some signs of trauma following the list we learnt in this trauma healing training.

More thanks to IPB

Godefroid:

I t was on a certain Monday that I lost my older brother who was in charge of all family needs. He woke up and went as usually to his daily job as a carpenter. At 1:00 pm, he felt ill and his colleagues evacuated him to the hospital and unfortunately he passed away at 6:00 pm of the same day. That death shocked me at the point I lost love to anybody.  Since then I started to isolate myself. I don’t fell courageous to sit with other young people for joking. I fell always unhappy of everything even taking studies. I have made tentative to leave the school but i missed where to go and what to do in place of studying. Today I come to understand that I went through a tragic event and that after it life must continue. I come to understand that what happened left in me wounds and their consequences are trauma.

I’m glad that I come to know the symptoms I do hold. What is more positive is that I come to know how to overcome from trauma I do hold.

Bonfils:

What forbade me any joy in my life was the absence of my father who left my mother and went to live with a second wife. I stayed with my mother and finally my father passed away. My mother didn’t have a brother or a sister as she was the only one child in her parental family. My mother and the second wife to my father became both widows and the situation between the two worsens itself.  The second wife was menacing day by day my mother saying she must go back to her parental family. In this situation of misunderstanding and quarrels, the second wife died too. The neighbors accused my mother to be part of this death. Some saying that she poisoned her. I got more regrets to see our neighborhood ignored us and accused us of witchcraft.

My mother was crying a lot and developed finally a life characterized by a strong anger. I use to cry myself by the fact of living in a family without any joy and where crying is like a regime or a must. I had developed some symptoms of trauma and my mother too looking at the list learnt in this workshop. I’m glad to get this opportunity to learn about trauma, its causes, symptoms, consequences and the way to overcome from it.    

I will continue to assist myself and my mother. I commit to contribute so that our community starting by our school be safe place exempt of trauma.

Clairine:

At the age of three, I lost my father and I missed his affection and this affected my behavior due to his absence. I grew up in my grand father’s home who was also wounded by his son’s death too. My mother was struggling alone to support my old sisters and brothers. Our paternal uncle who loved us died too by car accident in the same period as my father. My mother wounded once more by her brother’s death. She used to ask a question concerning how we think we could afford the daily life. Myself I was asking myself who could pay for my studies. My family and I are living under a strong grief. We have fear that we should dye younger as our father and uncle did. I was living day by day without any future plan. After this three days workshop I’m glad to learn about trauma and how to overcome from it and that : after traumatic event, life must continue.

I will continue to put in practice what I come to learn and I wish IPB should continue to assist us in expending our healing and plan for us a way of follow up. IPB should train us to be facilitators in order to disinfect our community and be a safe place to live in harmony and good coexistence.

More thank for IPB and its facilitators who permit me for the first time to share my traumatic event and I fell a little bit released.

Conclusion and recommendations

Recognizing different forms of trauma that men and women face, such as coercion to violence or sexual assault, participants wished to some sessions split up by sex. Since facilitation is made out of three and at least one male or female in each one, the provisory solution was that anyone who wishes a special listening session should meet one facilitator of the same sex to share its traumatic experience smoothly. It was also convened that during the follow up, some sessions will be split up by sex.

As recommendation, peace clubs were suggested to be implemented and have an agenda of community activities to be done during this 2018-2019 school year.

Both participants and the headmaster appreciated positively the peace work accomplished.

A falling exercise during the workshop
A falling exercise during the workshop
A group photograph of participants.
A group photograph of participants.
 

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Organization Information

Innovations in Peacemaking Burundi

Location: Bujumbura - Burundi
Project Leader:
Elie Nahimana
Bujumbura, Burundi

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