This week a team from Richmont Graduate University and Mercer University traveled to Uganda to provide trauma training and support to counselors in Uganda.

UGANDA TRIP UPDATE

Refuge and Hope

Lydia Threatt – Richmont Graduate University Student

It feels like we have barely been in Uganda for two days let alone five and yet here we are on day five with many wonderful presentations and delicious meals under our belts. It has been both educational and stretching to hear the feedback that the Ugandan counselors have been providing to our presentations. They have asked thoughtful questions which have allowed us to explore the topics so much more deeply. They have also been very open with us about the places in the theories that we presented where there were cultural differences which have given us the chance to explore with them how they might alter these structures to fit within their culture. The people were hungry to learn more about working with trauma and I think they would have been happy to have us present for many more days on many more topics dealing with trauma because we were helping to meet such a present and felt need.

Dr. Vanessa Snyder presenting training certificates

We were able to get a small taste of what counseling looks like in Uganda as well as hear some of the stories from the professionals in the room about what drew them to working with counseling. Each of the stories we got to hear was moving and just really showed us the outcome of some of the things we were teaching on such as Post Traumatic Growth. It has been beautiful to see all the good that is taking place in Uganda.

Besides all the great things that took place during our presentations, the most amazing part of the trip thus far for me has been the chance to visit Refuge and Hope. This organization provides education for the many refugees in Uganda both in the English language, computer skills and other skills such as cooking and sewing that will help them to get employed. We toured the premises and got to hear more about the mission of the organization and I was blown away by the beauty of it all. The quote of the day for most of the team members was when the presenter Gilbert who works in the Sustainability department told us “refugees are not a burden to the country when they are empowered”. He shared about how they welcome refugees from all different areas some of which are in conflict with each other and yet they are able to come to know each other and get along. He also spoke about how they provided all the refugees with Bible classes where they present the Bible stories but do not preach as they know they have students from many religions.

Refuge and Hope provides these refugees with training that they can take with them anywhere they go as many of them get moved to different countries from Uganda. It was awesome to see the type of services that were being provided for the refugees that have come to Uganda to begin a new life where they are safe. It brought so much hope to see what can take place when people respond with compassion and build people up. It continues the process and allows for those people to build up others. The members who have gone through the program offered by Refuge and Hope have gone on to create businesses and employed members of the community and helped to build up the economy. This has allowed Refuge and Hope to continue to prosper and provide more services. More than anything I will take the memory of meeting the individuals from Refuge and Hope and their mission with me when we leave. I have always found that when you go to teach you often learn much more and this trip to Uganda is no exception. I hope these meager words have provided you with even a glimpse of all the great things that are taking place in this beautiful country!