Many communities in Uganda have high levels of trauma. Our trauma program addresses people who have experienced highly stressful life events. In Northern Uganda and South Sudan every person has a story of tragedy and fear. War has been a constant reality for the last two decades. 66,000, children have been abducted to be brainwashed into combatants and sexual slaves. Most people have had relatives murdered or maimed often right before their eyes. Many have been forced to kill or be killed. Due to the conflict, millions of individuals were placed in camps, where many died due to horrific conditions. These experiences have left individuals with behavioral symptoms, PTSD and has made reintegration in communities difficult. Many extend their behavior into the community which in turn perpetuates trauma with the family and community. Out trauma program provides counselors who have intensive training to provide care.
Our program has two parts. The first section focuses on developing emotional strength, and the second teaches about forgiveness. Throughout the program the counselors teach people how to connect to one another and counter stress with positive activity. In addition, stories and sharing time help the participants understand pain and trauma from another perspective while giving them the opportunity to discuss the events they’ve experienced. And help resolve conflicts. Trauma counseling is important for these people to find healing, gain strength, develop skills to become successful in life, and it teaches them about forgiveness and Jesus, the one who suffered deeply and also forgave. Once the people have completed the trauma counseling, they are often ready and eager to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Only then can Favor of God continue with a 2-month long Portable Bible School to train and disciple.
Twenty-five years of war in northern Uganda tore apart the social fabric of a generation. Communities now ten years postwar are often missing a healthy church, educational system, and economic structure. Favor’s model of community revitalization has been informed by over fourteen years of work in Uganda and South Sudan and recognizes the church and the Word of God as the center of sustainable, ongoing community development.
Our process begins by meeting village leaders to obtain their support and to schedule a three-day evangelistic outreach that yields a new body of believers who are trained and discipled through our two-month Portable Bible School (PBS). During the PBS, villagers gather every weekday morning to receive health and wellness training. Trauma counseling addresses their emotional needs, while health education teaches basic hygiene, sanitation and mother and child wellness. Family development classes raise parents’ aspirations and clarify family values by equipping them with skills in communication, child development, effective discipline, parenting styles and relationship building as well as the ability to assess and address family concerns. Morning sessions also include women’s empowerment and instruction in vocational skills. Afternoons hold classes in evangelism, discipleship, holy living, church leadership, prayer and character building. Youth outreach takes place every weekend through Bible studies, VBS, purity and morality teaching and sports outreach.
As the training nears completion, construction of a church in the village gives the community a hub for ongoing spiritual, health, and economic development including literacy training and its resources and materials. The church structure also provides a site for mobile medical clinics conducted by visiting doctors. If the village lacks access to clean water, provision is made to drill a community well. Once the church building is complete, ongoing mentoring continues for at least one year to guide and sustain continued community development.