Trauma Counseling for Children in Malawi
As you might have already read in the 'About' section of this website, the roots of Umwana lie in the confrontation with the absence of psychological care for vulnerable children in Malawi. Throughout the years it became Umwana's mission to find ways to provide this kind of care for children, adolescents and their families. Therefore Umwana worked alongside different partners, engaging with different groups of local healthcare workers.
In the very beginning, we collaborated with the Dutch organisation 'Stichting Afrika Zending', that provided shelter for children accused of witchcraft. They expressed great interest in finding ways to counsel the children they sheltered, so together we came up with this idea to develop a kind of trauma training.
We would use it to support local healthcare workers in supporting the children. And that's exactly what we did: in collaboration with Stichting Afrika Zending and other child care facilities in Malawi (a.o. The Samaritan Trust) we developed a training called the 'Children's Trauma Training'. The goal of the training was and is to empower healthcare workers in their everyday work with children, adolescents and families.
Our project today
The training has changed a lot since the beginning and it keeps on changing as we go. Side-by-side local healthcare workers we aim to develop materials which are useful and (culturally) meaningful. Today, we have a running partnership with organisation Fountain of Life. Fountain of Life has government and UNICEF supported 'One Stop Centers' throughout the whole of Malawi. These centers provide safety and counseling for children and families who fall victim to (sexual) abuse and violence. Together with Fountain of Life we are developing a four year plan for the training and supervision of the volunteer healthcare workers involved in the different centers. Since the beginning of our partnership in 2017, three training modules have already been implemented and more are still to come! .
On the Belgian side of things, we closed another deal last year, with OBC Ter Wende-Espero nonetheless! The healthcare workers of OBC Ter Wende-Espero actively contribute to the further development of the training, as well as by sending their clinicians to Malawi to provide training and to engage in meaningful exchange with the Malawian healthcare workers involved in the training program.
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Our first, pilot trauma training in 2015 was made possible by support of Rotary Rotselaar. The evaluation report of that training can be found under 'publications' on our website.