Gate of Hope Ministries – Trauma Counseling
Gate of Hope Ministries exist to create an environment where Rwandan and other oppressed African individuals, families and communities are equipped and empowered to live out a more spiritually fulfilled, socially connected, and economically stable life in order to holistically transform their communities and nations.
Counseling Ministry: Counseling is key to healing. Gate of Hope Ministries provides counseling to heal the broken-hearted among children, youth and women. Gate of Hope Ministries trains lay counselors to help people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Rwanda. It provides materials for capacity building, and establishes support for these lay counselors.
Background of the Program: The idea of starting a counseling program came from experiencing people who manifest Psychological problems in the aftermath of the Rwandan civil war, which started in 1990 and culminated with the genocide of 1994. Thirteen years later, an untold number of Rwandans are still suffering from these traumatic affects. The war devastated the country, took countless lives, left behind thousands of widows and orphans, increased poverty in a country that was already poor, and caused hunger and malnutrition to this day. The plague of HIV/AIDS worsens this situation and is claiming even more human lives than the war itself. The resulting hardship and hopeless situations of people affects them physically, economically, socially, and mentally.
Rationale for the Program: The family support system in the Rwandan culture has been very valuable and has provided an umbrella of protection and safety to prevent and handle psychological problems to many people in the past. Today, war, genocide, and chronic diseases destroy families and many people are affected mentally. If the situation remains status quo and nothing is done, recovery will not be immediate. Widespread across Rwanda, there are many trauma symptoms: confusion, anger, guilt, grief, depression, and other emotional signs among all groups of people and especially among the widows and orphans that would benefit from a counseling program. The Rwandese government and many non-governmental organizations are trying to bring healing to the whole person, but still there is a need to train lay counselors to fill the gap caused by the shortage of counselors. Our government needs psychologists and counselors, as well as trained lay people, in this healing process. The increase of trauma overweighs the number of available counselors, hence a need to train lay counselors. Within Rwanda, no counseling schools currently exist while the number of those who need counseling increases every day. Another rationale for this program is that training people locally reduces the cost of the training done abroad in terms of time, material, money, transportation as well as other related expenses.