Rebuilding from Within (2019)
The Wau Trauma Healing Workshop was designed through collaboration between Manitoba Women for Women South Sudan (MW4WSS in short-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.
In 2018, Manitoba Women for Women of South Sudan raised approximately $5,000 CAD to send two women, Ms. Monica Illraio Kaima from the Women of St. Mary Association, Wau, Western Bahr El Ghazal and Ms. Awut Mayom Agok of Hope for Humanity, Rumbek, Lake State to Kigali, Rwanda for training in Trauma Healing and Peace-building. Rebuilding Our Community (HROC) is a Quaker model of trauma healing that was introduced to MW4WSS by Elaine Bishop, a Winnipeg Quaker. She introduced us to David Zarembka, who in turn facilitated attendance at the HROC training in Kigali. In addition, Donnie Blake of Sea Partners (affiliated with the Presbyterian Church US) also provided funds for the two women to obtain the HROC training.
The goal of 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.
Sum of Fundraising Amount
Manitoba Council International for Cooperation (MCIC)
Manitoba Women for Women of South Sudan (MW4WSS)
University of Winnipeg - Global College
Follow up Wau’s Women group
Travel, Accommodation, & Supplies
In preparation, Ms. Agok arrived from Rumbek a week ahead of time to join Ms. Kaima. The preparation for the workshop and the wrap up of the programming took two weeks altogether. Preparations included informing the city government of the workshop for security reasons, locating lodging for the out-of-town participants, the international guests, and the facilitators from Rumbek and Juba, as well as arranging transport for local participants, and for catering for the three-day workshop.
As a local activist and leader, Ms. Kaima recruited most of the workshop participants. She was joined by a local peace organization, SUPO, which is a women’s group that sent members and assisted with recruiting. The two facilitators remained after the close of the workshop to make sure that the participants who traveled from outside the city safely returned. The South Sudanese Under Secretary of the Ministry of Health Dr. Makur Kariom sent a car to the Canadian leadership at the airport in Juba, loaned them their car for their visit to Juba, and took them on a tour of the local hospital where they met survivors of the violence in the city.
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.
The workshop attracted forty-seven participants: twenty of the participants were women, six were girls, six were young men, three were chiefs from different tribes and approximately twelve men. The majority were from Wau; two female participants originated from Western bhar el Ghazel tribes, as well as the three chiefs. Most tribes were represented. The participants came from many walks of life: one participant identified as a journalist, another as a student, another was a pastor, and one was a nun caring for approximately 1,000 IDPs living around the church. The majority of the participants did not know one another. Most participants spoke either English or Arabic in addition to the local languages. The workshop was conducted in Arabic and English with the assistance of an interpreter who could translate into local languages as well.
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During the workshop, all three workshop leaders, Mr. Mou, Ms. Kaima, and Ms. Agok, presented on aspects of trauma healing and peacebuilding. They also facilitated group discussion on trauma and led interactive exercises that illustrated the power of tribal identity and built trust among the participants. For example, the tree of trust and the tree of mistrust exercise showed how trauma and violence impact trust in the community.
The participants were encouraged to share stories of trauma from their personal lives. 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. Participants supported one another, building a supportive atmosphere conducive for healing. On the last day, the participants shared how they would take their new learning forward.
At the end of the workshop, the participants offered theirs thanks to the organizers, the funders, the facilitators, and to each other. As a closing, one of the participants who had written a song taught the group her song and the participants sang the song with enthusiasm and happiness.
A significant outcome of the workshop was a support network. Now the participants know one another, and they are in harmony.
Supported connection to participants
Brought attention to the trauma healing workshop and to the involvement of the Canadian
Created the formation of a youth peace group
Formed relationship between the local South Sudanese community in Wau and MW4WSS
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