The month of April is a very difficult time for most Rwandans. April 7, 2010 marks the sixteenth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, where over one million Rwandans were killed in just under 100 days.
Sixteen years after the genocide is not a long time, and memories of the pain and loss are still raw and fresh in the minds of thousands of Rwandans. Many Rwandan survivors suffer from trauma and traumatic episodes during the period of April as they remember the horrific crimes experienced against them.
PFR operates a ministry to a group of 35 widows with HIV/AIDS. Many of these women were brutally raped as a genocide weapon by men infected with HIV/AIDS and most of the women lost their husbands in the 1994 genocide. The trauma the women have experienced is horrific and they are in great need of counseling, along with economic and nutritional assistance.
In order to address cases of trauma that many of these women experience, PFR partnered with a counselor from Norwegian Church Aid, to offer a creative and therapeutic way to equip the women to treat themselves and others to release the physical burdens of tension, anxiety, stress, and trauma that many of these women experience on a regular basis.
This is called "Thought Field Therapy," and is an effective and quick technique that can be used anywhere to treat those who struggle with anxiety, traumatic episodes, and other psychological problems.
The therapy follows a method where the individual can place physical pressure on acupuncture pressure points all over the body through a light and rhythmic beating from the hands on the forehead, temples, area above the lips, the chin, the chest, under the arm, and finger tips. The treatment can last for 10-20 minutes followed by deep breathing exercises. It has been proven to inspire a noticeable change in the body and mind of the individual by relaxing the body and mind. The therapy has been used on trauma cases from the Vietnam War and the Iraq War, but it can be used for many different psychological issues.
The HIV/AIDS women enjoyed learning how to conduct this physical treatment on themselves and on their friends. They can use this valuable therapy treatment anywhere, and it will be especially useful in April, when they are reminded of the horrific experiences they endured. Now they can calm themselves down and relieve the physical stress that accompanies their mourning through this effective treatment method.
Here are the women practicing the treatment on their friends. They can now help their friends calm down if they are experiencing distress or trauma as well as themselves.
PFR is thankful for our partnership with Norwegian Church Aid. Please continue to pray for Rwanda as the month of April continues and pray for PFR in the continuation of our reconciliation work in the Rwandan communities and prisons during this time.