By Kathleen Fry-Miller
We are so grateful that John Kinsel was able to return to Nigeria earlier this month and provide additional Healing Hearts training, trauma healing for children, and follow-up on behalf of Children’s Disaster Services (CDS). He was again hosted by Suzan Mark, director of EYN (Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) Women’s Ministry.
Twenty-five women and men were trained to do trauma healing work with children affected by the violence of the Boko Haram, including nine of the women who attended as a follow-up training to the first Training of Trainers in April.
Kinsel was able to spend some time talking with the previously trained women about what they had learned over six months of training others and working with children in their communities of northeast Nigeria. He was happy to be able to get out into villages and meet so many wonderful people.
The Healing Hearts Training of Trainers included discussion of child development and how it changes in trauma, techniques for working with children that promote healing and resilience, self-care for trainers who also have been affected by violence toward their families, and then specifics about how to present sessions to groups of children.
The Healing Hearts curriculum is story-based, play-based, and arts-based. Many of the participants work with Christian and Muslim children in their communities, so this time the training used stories appropriate to both faith perspectives with a focus on healing and compassion. The participants were encouraged to bring their own experiences and skills to this work. As part of the training, the group did a practicum experience with 130 children of the community.
Kinsel and Carl and Roxanne Hill brought eight Kits of Comfort to Nigeria for teams to use with children. The kits included art supplies, materials to make bean bags and puppets, as well as lovingly created dolls and stuffed animals.
-- Kathleen Fry-Miller is associate director of Children’s Disaster Services, which is a part of Brethren Disaster Ministries. Find out more at www.brethren.org/cds .