Nigerian Sunday school teachers learn the Healing Hearts curriculum for trauma healing

By Roxane Hill with reporting from Zakariya Musa

The peace program of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) held a Trauma Healing Workshop on Feb. 21-24. Forty-two Sunday school teachers from 15 districts attended.

The purpose of the workshop was to teach the participants about trauma, to encourage them to become advocates for traumatized parents and children in their communities, and to learn the Healing Hearts curriculum for Sunday school classes. The Healing Hearts curriculum was introduced to EYN in 2016 by Children’s Disaster Services, a program within Brethren Disaster Ministries. The hope is that these 42 teachers will in turn train others in their districts.

Highlights of activities conducted during the training workshop included:
— Understanding the general concept of trauma.
— Learning how trauma affects the human brain.
— Studying the effects of trauma on human behavior with special emphasis on how trauma affects children based on their age.
— Reviewing general principles and methods of working with children and adapting them for work with traumatized children.
— Introduction of the “DO NO HARM” principle in which participants learned how to handle complex situations in a friendly way to avoid creating more trauma.
— Presentation of the Healing Hearts curriculum including the use of selected Bible passages and storytelling that speak of peace, comfort, and love.
— A practice session conducted on the last day when participants engaged in teaching a small class under the guidance of the facilitators.

Success stories from participants

Bulus Ayuba from DCC Gwoza, an EYN church district, confirmed that this was one of the best Sunday school trainings he has ever attended. The knowledge he gained will be handed on to other Sunday school teachers in his church district to help traumatized children in his community. He stated that this training has changed his perspective on how to handle children as he did not even know that children could be traumatized. The knowledge, skills, and methods gained at the workshop will have a great impact on his life as a Sunday Sschool teacher.

Adamu Ijai from DCC Mildlu said that the lessons learned on the relationship between the human brain and human behavior helped him to understand how to help traumatized children. He will help children build up their capacities and guide them towards acquiring positive behavior for the betterment of the community.

Emmanuel Yohanna from Kautikari, who had never attended any training workshops, said the workshop has changed his attitude towards traumatized children and encouraged him to show them the love of Christ.

Rifkatu from DCC Yawa said the workshop helped her to identify children and adults who are traumatized in her community. She has promised to serve as an advocate of change on trauma healing and resilience in her community.

— Roxane Hill is interim office manager for Global Mission. Zakariya Musa is head of media for EYN. This information was adapted from the EYN Disaster Ministries monthly report.


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