Shalom Rwanda Ministries
Shalom Rwanda Ministries
The 1994 genocide against Tutsis was deliberately planned and systematically executed, resulting in brutal mass slaughter of more than a million people who were killed atrociously within a period of 100 days.
After the genocide in 1994, a group of genocide widows located in Kigali, working together met often after work or duirng lunch break to share their testimonies and feelings. It was a good time to cry and curse those murderers who caused misfortune. Among these women there was one born again Christian who had a big burden for her newly found friends, and her goal was to speak to them about the love of Jesus Christ some day. It was not easy to introduce God's love during that period because some people denied God's existence in the midst of their anger. They refused to return in churches in which many people were killed.
Out of this time of crying and wailing, 3 widows turned to THe Lord and said "enough crying, we will start praying!" Shalom Ministries begun in 1994 in the midst of extreme sorrow. Their intention of rebuilding themselves with support from one another - and helping those around them, through the strength and wisdom of the Lord, became reality. The organization-known as SHALOM RWANDA became a vital grassroots ministry providing encouragement to hundreds and hundreds of Rwandans.
In June 2013 - during the period of 100 days of Genocide Commemoration, Shalom Ministries Rwanda visited many widows to bring comfort and gave 25 goats and clothes. Each widow was given one goat to breed to help her meet basic needs like paying health insurance. Drocella Ndudwimana, the Coordinator of SHalom Ministries Rwanda said "We come to comfort you in this period of 100 days of Genocide Commemoration. God who helped you survive is on your side and has a good plan for your life." These activities continue today.
NARRATIVE REPORT ON COUNSELING TRAININGS IN OUR RUHANGO AND KINAZI LOCAL GROUPS
As our Vision states, Shalom Ministries aims at becoming a worldwide instrument of God’s peace to the brokenhearted. We set different programs in which we work towards that goal, and one of them is Christian Counseling. That is why SHALOM Ministries (SHAM) together with its local groups committees tries to identify members that are experiencing trauma from different life circumstances, so that they can be reached and helped through prayer and Christian counseling.
The 1994 genocide against Tutsis in Rwanda has left Rwandans with wounds that are not healed till today, and from those not healed wounds arise many other types of sicknesses or life challenges related to trauma. We have members in our Ruhango and Kinazi local groups, who are either widows of the genocide, or orphans of the genocide, or mothers who lost their children in the genocide or people who survived with different diseases or disabilities (just to mention a few of the genocide consequences), and they haven’t healed from that trauma yet because they have never had access to a counselor and counseling trainings.
We have other people who live with trauma as a result of their failed marriages, domestic violence or poverty.
Another group that we have is of people that live with incurable diseases and disabilities, or they have family members who have life illnesses. These people lead a hopeless life because they think they are dying. Yet, that is not true. They need counseling to know how to live with those health problems because there are chances to live many more years when patients follow all medical instructions appropriately.
That is why SHAM decided to offer trainings on counseling in those 2 local groups, not only for the groups of people mentioned above, but also for the leaders of those local groups so that they can know how to help and follow up their people as they can easily access them more than the SHAM staff. SHAM had a group of 3 people who facilitated the trainings, and they are all members. The first one is Mukarubuga Beata (Mama Lambert), a certified counselor with 18 years of experience and she is also the President of our board. The second is Drocella Nduwimana, the Executive Director of SHAM who is also a certified counselor and the third is Beatrice Mukarusanga, a nurse who has experience in counseling people who live with incurable diseases, especially HIV/AIDS.
Due to COVID restrictions and limited funds, we managed to train 63 people in 2 days, but the number of members in need is much more than that. In the 63 people, only 5 were men and 58 were women. We just started with the neediest, and we hope that the rest will be trained as well if we get blessed with more funds. The training method we used is group counseling, but we also plan to do individual counseling and other topics in the future.
Before the training began, the group of our 3 facilitators together identified what they want to achieve in the trainings, so that they can plan accordingly.
The first was introducing local groups’ committees to Christian counseling, what it is, how it is done, thecharacteristics of a good counselor and how to know that one is called to be a counselor. All this had a purpose of equipping leaders with the basic knowledge they need to support their members day to day.
After realizing that many people live with trauma that they are not aware of, the facilitators also set an objective of giving knowledge about trauma, its causes, its signs, consequences and how to deal with it.
Another objective was providing space for people who wanted a safe place to share what they are going through so that they can feel relieved and advised on what to do in their situations (if necessary).
v OVERVIEW OF THE 2 DAYS COUNSELING TRAINING
Trainees Kinazi Group
Trainees Ruhango group
The two groups were trained separately.31 members from Kinazi local group were trained on the 1st day, and 32 members from Ruhango local group were trained on the second day.
All sessions started with a song, a short prayer and 1 minute of commemorating since we are in the 27th commemoration of the 1994 genocide against Tutsis.
Then after, trainees were asked to share what they expect to learn from the training, so that they can evaluate and see if their expectations are met at the end of the training. Some of their expectations were: Knowing how to help someone who has trauma; where to seek help from in case one feels like he/she has trauma; how to know if you have trauma or not; how to appropriately live with someone who has trauma; how to completely heal from depression; how a parent can help his/her child who has trauma; just to mention a few.
A number of topics were discussed in the 2 days’ training, and they are: Introduction to counseling; death as one of the causes of trauma; depression, its types and how to heal from it; mourning; incurable diseases (like HIV/AIDS, diabetes, cancer) and to live with them; then lastly familial conflicts and how to handle them.
The three facilitators shared the topics. Mama Lambert gave an introduction to Counseling and talked about death; Drocella talked about depression, its types and how to heal from it, as well as mourning. Beatrice talked about incurable diseases mainly focusing on HIV/AIDS and a little bit about familial conflicts and how to handle them.
Trainees were given space to ask questions after each session, and they were satisfied by the answers that they were given. In order to evaluate if they understood everything that was given to them, they were also put into small groups and given different questions, and each group nominated a representative who shared with everybody else the answers that they found out as a small group. Trainers were happy with the presentations because they showed that people followed the lessons so well.
Also, we gave time to listen to people’s stories. A few people gave their touching testimonies of how they live with trauma and different circumstances that bring depression in their lives. One widow of the genocide gave a testimony of how one of the kids she survived with was about to get married, he had built a house and all was going well with his life, and then when the wedding was around the corner, unknown people poisoned him and he became totally disabled in a minute. He is now not even able to walk or to do anything on his own and the girl that he was about to marry, married another man. The mother has been so much traumatized by his son’s situation, but she said that she was so much relieved to learn about trauma, depression and how to heal from it. She has hope that she will get better since she has gotten the help that she needed from counselors.
Another testimony was of a woman who is an orphan of the 1994 genocide, she was so unfortunate to even marry an abusive husband, and she even lives with cancer. Her life has been so much painful to the extent that she even thought of suicide, but God saved her through a SHAM member who was around a lake that she was going to throw herself into. That is how she joined SHAM, and she was so happy for the training because she learnt how she can live with her situation, and she has people who listens to her and are willing to help her. Her local group leaders will continue following her up since they know her situation, and they have been trained on how to help such people.
All trainees promised the trainers that they are going to share with other members what they have learnt so that they can live healthier together. The training was closed with a prayer. Trainers prayed for all participants so that they can get peace which is only found in Jesus Christ before anything else. As Christians, we believe that God heals and restores broken hearts, and then the counseling and everything else come after that.
For the participants’ side, they were so happy for the counseling training. They said that they really needed the knowledge that they acquired from the training and that they are going to help others with what they know now. They also opened up and shared some of their stories which is a good step to healing. Their only complaint was that one day is not really enough and they wish that more trainings can be organized for them.
They were given questions to discuss in groups, and from their answers, it is a fact that they can identify causes of trauma, its signs, where to seek help from and how to behave when someone approaches you for counseling.
Discussions in small groups with facilitators
They are also able to identify signs of depression, its causes, things that can stop a person from healing from depression, and how to help a person who is depressed.
Lastly, they are able to identify the kind of help that someone who has got news that she is HIV/AIDS/Cancer/Diabetes positive needs and how to give that help.
All trainees are very happy and thankful, they don’t want to leave the place!
That is why we are glad to say that the training was helpful and successful. Most of our objectives were achieved despite the time that was limited and we believe that those who were trained will start bringing a positive impact in their communities.
v REFLECTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
We are so grateful for the 2 days training on counseling. There is still a long way to go, but we are happy for where we are so far. However, we realized that there are gaps that need to be filled in order to reach more people who are in need and to improve our future trainings. If we had more than one day for each group, results would have been much better. All trainees didn’t get enough time to freely express themselves, share their stories or even to ask all their questions. Some of the topics, like familial conflicts and how to handle them were not effectively discussed due to limited time.
It would be better if one group was trained for at least two consecutive days. Also, we need to train more members since all of them can’t be trained in one session and it is obvious that people are going through a lot of depressing circumstances. Yet, that is only achievable if we get more funds. There is a lot to do, but the resources are limited. We pray that God provides more resources so that our counseling department can grow as well. And yes, we believe that He will provide.
We want to acknowledge Mama Lambert and Beatrice for sacrificing their precious time to join the SHAM staff in those trainings on counseling. It is a great pleasure and a blessing to have members who are willing to share their knowledge with others in order to be healthy spiritually, mentally and physically. May God bless them.
Start Date: ---
End Date: 30 September 2022