Frances in Liberia
Greetings from Monrovia in Liberia where I am working on the ground with The Koinonia Trust team.
Before I left Ireland and as I prepared prayerfully as God called me back to Liberia, I read the following and it spoke to my heart...
Grace is letting God do what He wants on the earth through me.
Grace requires me to be absolutely still mentally-trusting in the Lord rather than worrying or reasoning.
This has been foremost in my mind as I step out in faith God has done abundantly more than what I could imagine in such a short space of time and my heart is overwhelmed with His goodness.
Trauma Healing Training was developed and is facilitated by SIM in Monrovia. In terms of trauma, Liberia has suffered an immense amount from 1985 when there was oppression, mass killings and rapes from the governmental military elements that were present at the time. Then during the war children were kidnapped, abused, drugged and made to become soldiers. This continued from 1989 to 2003 and unfortunately the consequences of this relentless abuse and trauma has not just impacted that generation but has now been manifested into the next generation.
The country as a whole has found it difficult to rebuild. Many communities have suffered a loss of purpose, they have been rendered powerless and hopeless. Unemployment is very high, levels of education and health are poor. There has been a lack of good role models both throughout leadership and within family units. One of the consequences of conflict is often in the aftermath not only are infrastructures damaged but often societal norms change.
The hope that this training brings is without words, especially in an area that is considered a slum. To be able to facilitate trauma healing groups where people are given that safe space to work through their own trauma and heart wounds will enable them to take steps forward in their lives. To further identify and train local people who can become apprentice facilitators increases the opportunity for a whole community to benefit from a safe space for those who have been hurt and traumatized either through the consequences of the war, Ebola or absolute poverty will be of immense value. It would enable and empower people to discover Gods plan and purpose for their lives. This program is one that is filled with God’s love and grace flowing out to those that are hurt and in return continues to flow out to many. Without healing, without forgiveness, without closure people become stuck. Trauma healing groups help to heal those wounds, the effect will be a more sustainable community who are able to move forward with hope.
Trauma Healing Groups are free but training to become a facilitator has a cost which has been decreased this year.
$150 USD provides someone to be trained as an apprentice facilitator. To continue on with training an additional $150 USD provides advanced training to become either a Trauma Healing Group facilitator or if the requirements are met a Training Facilitator who can go on and equip others.
To access a good education even from primary education requires money and to access a college education for the majority of young people in Monrovia is difficult. In a disadvantaged area where there is high unemployment access becomes impossible. Providing partial help with either college registration or credits (they pay per subject taken) depending on individual cases helps a person get out of the poverty cycle they find themselves in. It is hoped depending on funding available individuals would also be linked into some sort of social enterprise so they could sustain themselves.
Costs for vocational training per person per year is approximately $170 USD, e.g. Electrician, Tailoring, Mechanic or Catering. These are 2 year courses.
The cost of sending someone to college/university per year can vary between $600 and $1,300 US
The Koinonia Trust works with vulnerable individuals, local leaders, communities and non-government organisations (NGO’s).
We help them to identify their own assets, skills and abilities as well as any gaps that may exist. We can then determine together how to encourage and empower building their personal capacity, resilience and social capital through specific objectives
Liberia has gone through much trauma, through years of conflict, the Ebola outbreak and absolute poverty. It is a country struggling to rebuild itself and everyday life has become a challenge for many. We are working in trauma affected communities. The workshops we offer begin to explore, to give knowledge and understanding to the different aspects of health. We examine their impact on the individual and wider environment. The workshop provides new skills that can develop new mindsets, which in return can lead to behavior change.
We are always open to developing and facilitating workshops that have a particular focus for an organisations needs provided it is within our own capacity and expertise. Some examples of workshops we facilitate based in the context of Liberia are below:
- Teaching best practice for working within a trauma affected community/The journey of healing
- Skills for conducting staff support and supervision/improving mentoring and encouraging team work
- Gaining knowledge and skills to improve health and well-being (spiritual, emotional, mental, physical and social)
- Improving skills for effective leadership
- Self-reflection and personal development
- Health promotion: Health protective behavior/Health risk behavior/Health related harm/ Principles and levels of health promotion
- Principles of community development and the importance of developing a skills audit
During the previous two years several small projects were started successfully and required only a small amount of finance. But it had the ability to create an income that helped in particular students to continue with their education. For example, someone selling goods/bakery/tailoring.
Most social enterprise projects require approx between $200 and $1,000 USD to set up.
How can I support Frances in Liberia?
If you would like to support Frances as she travels and works as an unpaid volunteers with The Koinonia Trust in Liberia you can donate via the church.
You can organize a fundraiser.
Check out the The Koinonia Trust Website
Click the link below