Ministry to Congolese Children Fleeing Violence Leads to Healing

August 9, 2019 • Uganda
Our trauma healing project is helping children in Uganda learn how to grieve and process their stories as refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Our trauma healing project is helping children in Uganda learn how to grieve and process their stories as refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Refugee children in Uganda are hearing the Gospel through a Samaritan’s Purse project aimed at healing after trauma.

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Tears stream down the faces of Congolese refugee students as they share war stories of losing their parents, homes, and belongings—everything they had.

“There is a problem on my heart,” Destiny, a second grader, said. “I lost my mother, father, and sister. After that, the people I lived with tortured me. When I remember it, I feel very hurt.”

Destiny’s story is, unfortunately, typical among the students here at Good Hope School, located in the Kyaka II refugee settlement in western Uganda. But Joachim, one of the school’s teachers, says Destiny’s ability to talk about her experiences “is a sign of healing.”

Joachim and a group of his students.

Joachim and a group of his students.

The children are just a few of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo to escape devastating violence from rebel uprisings and military unrest. After reaching Uganda, they were placed in the Kyaka II refugee camp, joining tens of thousands of other displaced people. In the settlement, simply surviving is the top priority. There is little time or energy to focus on emotional needs. But that is now changing.

Samaritan’s Purse, through our trauma healing project, is mobilizing community leaders, like Joachim, to lead trauma-healing sessions. For the first time, the refugees are learning how to grieve and process their stories. This year, the project’s goal is to reach 7,000 refugees and members of the host community.

Joachim takes groups of 20 students each week through the trauma-healing sessions.

“We go through 10 topics,” Joachim said. “They learn that they are important to God, how sin enters the world, and why bad things happen. During the second lesson, they learn to take their pain to the Cross. There is a lot of crying and pain, and the teachers comfort them. We also do follow-ups at their homes. Children write their laments. They ask, ‘Why did God let my family die? Why am I a refugee?’”

By the end of the week, Joachim says, their sorrows begin to heal as they learn about forgiveness and about God’s love for them.

“We are seeing change,” Joachim said. “Before, they didn’t even cry. Now, they participate in class, smile, and laugh.”

Joachim’s words are confirmed as a group of kids gather in the school’s courtyard and sing: “Hallelujah, Jesus’ love is bubbling over! Hallelujah, Jesus’ love is bubbling over!”

Please pray for these refugee children and our Trauma Healing Project team as they help the kids heal and share with them the hope found only in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

SUPPORT
As Samaritan’s Purse helps refugees streaming into places like Greece, northern Iraq, and South Sudan, we pray “that all peoples of the earth may know Your Name and fear You, as do Your people Israel” (1 Kings 8:43). For many, this is the first time they have ever experienced Christian compassion and had an opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Your gift of $125 can help us meet urgent needs by providing food parcels or a heater for a family enduring a harsh winter.
Refugee Relief Families fleeing from violence or famine often cross borders seeking safety and shelter, and find themselves strangers in foreign lands—hungry, thirsty, and need of refuge. Samaritan's Purse is offering compassionate care for these refugees by providing food, water, shelter, and other lifesaving essentials. Your gift can help provide basic necessities for a refugee family, offering a tangible expression of Christ's love in the midst of upheaval and uncertainty.

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