Provide trauma relief to workers in South Africa

by Hoedspruit Training Trust
Provide trauma relief to workers in South Africa
Provide trauma relief to workers in South Africa
Provide trauma relief to workers in South Africa
Provide trauma relief to workers in South Africa
Provide trauma relief to workers in South Africa
Provide trauma relief to workers in South Africa
Provide trauma relief to workers in South Africa
Provide trauma relief to workers in South Africa

In 2018 and 2019 we trained 25 TRE community facilitators, men and women, who right now are out in the field, in clinics, in villages, and on farms providing stress and trauma relief for their co-workers and victims of violence and abuse.

We would like to express our great appreciation to those who of you who have so generously supported this project through GlobalGiving. You have funded about 10% of all our costs of training these 25 TRE facilitators. Thank you!

As we focus on the next stage in bringing trauma relief to workers in our area, which is to support the facilitators in implementing TRE as widely as possible, to supervise their continued personal development and to keep them up to date with new research in trauma relief, we are closing down the funding efforts via GlobalGiving. The success of the original project far exceeded our expectations, however, the GlobalGiving funding response was not able to match that.

So, with a big thank you, we move into the next phase of spreading TRE to the communities with the help of local supporters and donations.


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Graduation as TRE Facilitators
Graduation as TRE Facilitators

The pilot training course last year was such a resounding success that this year another 7-month course was held and a total of 14 Hlokomela participants proudly graduated on 27 September 2019 as TRE facilitators.

One of the ways Hlokomela provides health care, social change and life skills programmes to farmworkers, migrants, lodge workers and sex workers in the greater Hoedspruit area, is through community-based peer educators. It is 14 of these peer educators, also known as Nompilos, who have been trained as TRE facilitators with the funding support from you, our GlobalGiving family.

Nompilos are exposed to the difficulties, stress, trauma and hardship prevalent in their communities and often have symptoms such as anxiety, sleep problems and headaches. To counter this Hlokomela started to offer them TRE (Tension Releasing Exercises) in its main clinic 4 years ago. The subjective improvements in mental and physical health were so remarkable that we decided to train Nompilos to be TRE community facilitators who could facilitate and teach this accessible self-help method of stress and trauma reduction in their communities.

Who benefited?

During this reporting period of July to September, 95 people were facilitated in TRE sessions, of which 5 people attended one-on-one sessions. This number includes a group of game lodge workers that were traumatised after one of their colleagues died due to a snake bite.

Thank you!

As always, we are very grateful to our sponsors: GlobalGiving, local businesses and private donors. Without their financial support, this TRE training would not be possible. We depend on it to continue to support our communities and have TRE spread in rural areas, offering the population some relief from the psychological and physical effects of their often extremely difficult life circumstances.

What’s next?

Hlokomela will spend 2020 consolidating the graduates’ learning and implementing TRE in the field in the most effective way.


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No loss of life, but victims were traumatized.
No loss of life, but victims were traumatized.

We take great pride in sharing our progress on the Trauma Releasing Exercise training with you, our GlobalGiving family! Without you, we would not be able to bring the benefits of this debriefing strategy to the rural communities of Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Success story

On July 11, 2019, a number of small roadside fruit vendors’ shacks close to the Hlokomela offices burnt down in an accident. It happened early morning when it was very cold and dark. Many people were living in the shacks and they lost all their belongings. Fortunately, there was no loss of life but all the survivors were shocked and traumatised. Emotions were running high and the victims directed their anger towards the person who accidentally started the fire with a candle. Three people were seriously shocked and traumatised attended a TRE session at Hlokomela Clinic and they all felt much calmer afterwards. Follow up sessions will be done by the trained facilitators.

This is an example of how TRE can be used in any stressful or traumatic situation and how important it is to train more and more people in this skill to help themselves and in the very challenging communities in which they live.

Training continues to benefit participants

Over the past 3 months, the growth and change in the 14 participants training have been marked. They have made great progress and have grown in confidence. They work in pairs and are more outspoken about sharing their feelings and process of TRE with the group. They remain enthusiastic and all have experienced changes within themselves, which continues to motivate them under the skilled guidance of their trainer, Dr Erika Coertzen. One of the participants who miscarried twins last year felt deep grief and anger from the beginning of the training in March. At the July training session, she shared that she at last “felt free and without anger” thanks to the effect TRE has had on her. The training will be completed at the end of September.

With regards to the Hlokomela caregivers who trained last year, they continue to benefit from TRE on their own. Within their communities, they have reached 18 people including men, children and women. One very promising facilitator is was chosen to continue with TRE Module 2. More than 70 staff from Hlokomela, including Community Care Givers, continue to receive the support that TRE provides as part of debriefing for their work.


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TRE community facilitators in training
TRE community facilitators in training

Since our last report in January 2019, our Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) community facilitators have been hard at work and the next round of training has started. Thanks to the funds raised by our GlobalGiving family, they are bringing relief to individual clients as well as Hlokomela field staff on a weekly basis.

Success stories

A local lodge owner referred one of their employees to Hlokomela for TRE after being through a very traumatic experience. The lady is about 38 years old, does not have a child of her own and suffered a miscarriage last year. After so many years of trying to conceive at all, she has been struggling to accept the miscarriage.

One of Hlokomela’s in-house TRE facilitators, Tshepo Lewele, did TRE with her and after the very first session, she had a peaceful nap after a long time of not being able to close her eyes during the day due to flashbacks of the trauma.

Two days after the session she called the facilitator and said that she is very thankful for the TRE because she is now feeling positive about life, and TRE has helped her to accept and move on.

Training new TRE community facilitators

Word about last year’s pilot Community Facilitators TRE training has spread and we had lots of applicants who wanted the benefits of the 6-month program for themselves and for people in their community. They wanted to experience the release of years of tension and stress and begin to heal from trauma, which is all pervasive in the Limpopo rural communities.

We were able to select 14 applicants from the Hoedspruit area to attend the training 1 ½ hours away in Tzaneen, Limpopo. There, in a church hall, Dr Erika Coertzen is teaching a total of 23 participants (9 from the Greater Tzaneen area) on 9 Fridays from March 2019 to September 2019. We have 2 translators, Kgopotso and Elizabeth, both TRE qualified, and a number of TRE facilitators who volunteer their time to assist in this exciting and rewarding project.

In the first 3 training days, we have seen the 4 men and 19 women start to process individual traumas within the safe space of the group. One mother was finally able to release the grief for her stillborn child, another woman took two sessions, filled with both crying and laughing, to let go of a knife attack that injured her badly. However, usually, people don’t know and don’t need to know what specific trauma and stress they are releasing. It is the great advantage of TRE as a modality that it evokes a physiological body reflex and does not require talking about the trauma.

Participants find that pains and headaches are disappearing, they are reporting better sleep, higher energy levels, fewer menstruation problems and improved sex! These are usually the first signs of reduced tension in the body and as the process deepens it can lead to more peace of mind, clearer thinking, more balanced temperaments and less anger and frustration.

Last year’s graduates have a standing invitation to join and Grace, a social worker, came recently to share her experiences. Her insight and personal growth with TRE is inspiring!


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TRE group session
TRE group session

Since our last report in November 2018, our newly trained Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE) community facilitators have been hard at work! Thanks to the funds raised by our GlobalGiving family, they are bringing relief to individual clients as well as Hlokomela field staff on a weekly basis.

Who have we helped?

Staff in game lodges, local business, and farms in the Hoedspruit area and poor rural communities in Maruleng Local Municipality benefit from sessions with our two on-staff TRE facilitators, Tshepo Lewele and Kgopotso Manamela. From November 2018 to January 2019 these ladies conducted TRE sessions with 19 clients. All Hlokomela staff have access to either one-on-one or group sessions with the in-house facilitators. Our Nompilos (health workers) and peer educators also attend sessions. This helps them a lot as they are working in the field on a daily basis and need relief to counteract burnout tension. Our trained community facilitators facilitated one-on-one TRE sessions for 11 farm workers during the reporting period. These sessions were conducted at their places of work - a great benefit of the service as farm workers don’t need to take a lot of time off from work.

Will more community facilitators be trained?

With support from our friends in the GlobalGiving community, we plan to launch another round of training for 10 new community facilitators from March to September 2019. These facilitators will be based on farms as well as in the communities, where poor health conditions, violence, abuse, and poverty often result in compassion fatigue, indirect trauma and anxiety as well as personal stress and trauma.

Success stories

A local lodge owner brought one of her female staff members to Hlokomela after the young woman survived a very traumatic car hijacking. Tshepo says: “the client was struggling a lot as she was unable to sleep and concentrate at work”. “During the session, I could tell that her body was overwhelmed with tension and she reacted very well to the TRE technique. After attending two TRE sessions with me, she is able to drive and perform her duties at work again”. Another female client was referred to Hlokomela after losing her 6-year-old son in a very traumatic drowning incident. The lady couldn’t focus at work and suffered from sleeplessness for two weeks after the incident. “ I did a one-on-one session with her and she released a lot of the tension that was stored in her body. After the session she slept much better!” says Tshepo.


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Organization Information

Hoedspruit Training Trust

Location: Hoedspruit, Limpopo - South Africa
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Hlokomela
Project Leader:
Christine du Preez
Hoedspruit , Limpopo South Africa

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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