Africa

KENYA-2009

A TRI team was invited to Kenya by the Kenyan Association of Professional Counselors due to our association with Gloria Simoneaux, a talented expressive art therapist who now works with Save the Children and a nonprofit, Caring for the Kids of Kenya, run by a remarkable woman, Linda Wilson, an American who supports an orphanage near Nairobi.The TRI team conducted a Trauma Resiliency Model Training for the Kenyan Association of Professional Counselors. Participants were from many parts of Kenya and one of the participants who heard about our work, took a bus from Rwanda to attend the training. We were deeply moved by their life stories and how they were able to embrace the TRM skills so easily.

We accompanied Gloria Simoneaux to the Kibera Slum, one of the largest slums in Africa and participated in a wonderful art project with the children of Kibera. The children came alive with the art work and their enthusiasm was inspiring to all of us. The artwork was remarkable and some of the adults gave us a tour of their homes within the slum. We were able to see the resilience and industry of the people as we came upon a small group of men making jewelry and entered a humble dwelling filled with stunning pieces of art.
We were invited to bring our TRM skills to the Women’s Prison in Nairobi. Gloria Simoneaux began a project bringing her expressive arts to the women who were all HIV positive and were imprisoned for a variety of reasons. The women welcomed us and were also quite eager to learn new skills that may help them. We brought supplies for a lunch and they cooked a meal for us. Some had their babies with them and we learned they were able to keep the babies up to a certain age and then the children were usually taken to an orphanage if there were no family members who could adopt the child. The suffering was palpable but so was the joy which was evidenced when we were invited to dance with the women after we had shared our skills with them. We were again moved by the generosity of the women who also embraced the new skills.
We introduced TRM skills to the teachers of the orphanage sponsored by Caring for the Kids of Kenya. We also were able to bring the skills to a private school where we were greeted by enthusiastic adolescents who were eager to learn. We provided training to teachers who shared with us that many of the children have had multiple traumas in their life. The stories of the children were heart wrenching as we observed the stark realities of poverty and the aftermath of the post-election violence of 2007.

The team was invited to a displaced persons camp (IDP) to 
provide a brief training of the TRM skills for the displaced persons during one of our last afternoons in Kenya. The TRI team was welcomed into the camp and there was an eagerness to learn the simple skills to help themselves and their families. We were greeted by sweet children who were eager to play with the colorful stickers we had brought for them.    We left Kenya with a commitment to return.
RWANDA 2007       A TRI team was invited to Rwanda in 2007 through an association with Karen Froming, a forensic psychologist, who had been working in Rwanda for a number of years. The Rwandan people were greatly appreciative of our efforts to bring TRM skills to their communities to help with symptoms that had occurred as a result of the genocide.

KENYA 2007      The Pond Foundation through its Executive Director, Wendy Flick, invited TRI to present at the 5th Annual Conference to end Female Genital Mutilation.  Elaine Miller-Karas and  her assistant, Jessica Karas participated in the dynamic conference and met remarkable men and women from 17 different countries who are working to eliminate this practice from Africa.

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