On the 9th of May 2014, CBSP, represented by Duhumurizanye Iwacu Rwanda (DIR), received a delegation of representatives of the Dutch Ministry of foreign affairs (Katja Lasseur) and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Kigali (Vasco Rodrigues, Erik van Oudheusden and Nina Bode).
Theophile Sewimfura, Field Coordinator in the Eastern Province, introduced the sociotherapy approach and a group of men who graduated from sociotherapy explained the impact of sociotherapy in their lives. Among them were both genocide survivors and genocide perpetrators. Though the time was short to share all of their testimonies in terms of how sociotherapy changed them individually and in relations with others, at least an introduction to expected results of the program was presented through their testimonies as sociotherapy participants in the past gacaca context.
After the presentation and discussions, the delegation went to the field to observe sociotherapy in practice. The socio-group visited consisted of widows who are in conflict with their children. According to many of the women, these conflicts often (in-)directly related to Rwanda’s past history of war and genocide. Their children are growing up without a father at home (either because he died or was imprisoned after genocide), this increases stress levels in their families.
The group participants have warmly welcomed the visitors in companion with DIR staff. They have shared about their motivations to attend sociotherapy groups and talked about the benefits already gained at the stage they are. At the end of the session, the CBSP Program Manager appreciated the group and encouraged them to continue in the following words: “You cannot build a house with one brick, only with many bricks can build a strong shelter.” Meaning that you can only (re-)build a community when you do it together. For a given problem brought in the group by an individual, it requires the contribution from each one to bring her brick (advice, experience) in order to build each other.
At the end of the session, Grace Kagoyire, DIR Participatory Action Researcher, who monitors closely the progress of this particular group, evaluated together with sociotherapists the session of the day. The Field Coordinator and the District Manager took that opportunity as well to express their observations on how the facilitators are performing their voluntary duties.
By Aime Kamana
District Manager Bugesera
Duhumurizanye Iwacu Rwanda