Community Healing
Community Healing

How to Help Your Community Heal and Flourish – that’s something we’d all like to know about! On Monday 29 July, UMN launched a set of group teaching materials to help do just that. Aimed at communities which have experienced very difficult situations, the materials have been developed and piloted with groups such as a widows’ group in Rukum and Koshi Flood survivors in Sunsari.

Chairperson of UMN’s partner organisation PMC, Shambu Adhikari, told the gathering of about 60 I/NGO staff, counsellors and mental health workers how a community of nearly 300 people were traumatized by the terrible Koshi Flood of 2008. “This interactive material, which includes both group healing and socio-economic empowerment,has been highly successful in helping people heal from their traumatic experiences and go about their normal lives. Further, it significantly helps reduce the rampant caste and gender discrimination that prevailed in this area. In addition, this material is being used as an effective social mobilization tool,” he explained.

Bandan Prasad Dev and Rukhiya Mandal knew this from first-hand experience. As survivors of the flood, they shared how dreadful their situation had been, and how they overcame the experience, highlighting the importance and support of this material and the programme they were part of. Sita Lama, A psychologist and counsellor, shared that while using this material with her client, she herself received healing from her own trauma: she lost her aunt a year ago, but it was hard for her to accept this. She kept thinking about her aunt, and saw her in dreams quite regularly. “I never realized that I was in trauma, though I am by profession a psychologist and counsellor. This material indeed helped me heal from my trauma,” she said.

The material was jointly launched by David McConkey, Liaison Director of UMN, John R Williamson, Country Representative of Mennonite Central Committee Nepal and Suraj Koirala, Managing Director of TPO-Nepal.

Many thanks to Himal Partner and the Mennonite Centre Committee, whose financial support made the preparation and publication of this material possible.Thank you also to TPO Nepal, who translated the original English text, and provided very helpful advice throughout the process.

To see and hear more about how people caught up in the Koshi Flood worked to rebuild their lives with support from UMN and its partners, watch video below.

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