The Wau, South Sudan Trauma Healing Workshop
The Wau Trauma Healing Workshop was designed through collaboration between Manitoba Women for Women South Sudan (#W4W) and its partners: the Episcopal Church of South Sudan Justice Peace and Reconciliation Commission (ECSS/JPRC) and Women of St. Mary’s Association, Wau, South Sudan.
The goal for the workshop was 50 participants. The workshop took place from March 11-13th, 2019 in Wau in the Basilica Hall of St. Mary’s Church. The facilitators included Mr. Stephen Mou, National Coordinator of ECSS/JPRC who was trained previously in the HROC methodology, Ms. Monica Illraio Kaima (currently an IDP), and Ms. Awut Mayom Agok.
There were forty-seven participants: twenty women, six girls, six young men, three chiefs from different tribes, and approximately twelve men. The majority were from Wau; two female participants originated from Western bhar el Ghazel tribes. Most tribes were represented.
A significant outcome of the workshop was a support network. the workshop has inspired participants to go out and build peace. “Now we are ambassadors for peace.”
As the workshop progressed, many opened up and expressed their pain, testifying as to how they had been hurt by the violence in South Sudan.
The gendered impact of violence became visible to the participants as they told their stories. The school girls shared how vulnerable they became when their school was destroyed. They fear they may now be married off at a young age against their will and are also more likely to be raped.
Another outcome of the workshop was the formation of a youth peace group. After the workshop, the six school girls who participated organized 17 of their peers and banded together, calling themselves Women for Change. In addition, following the workshop, another group of 21 young people made up of mostly young men and three young women formed another association called Youth for Peace.