Healing body and soul in slums of Kibera
On New Year’s Day, while the rest of the world was celebrating, Kenya was being torn apart by violence between neighbours, sparked by the heavily disputed presidential election results.
Rosemary Wanjala talks about 'Operation Hope', a crisis centre for trauma counselling to people who have had their lives destroyed in Kenya.
In the heart of the capital city Nairobi, Kibera is one of the largest slums in Africa. The thousands of jobless and disenfranchised youths meant that Kibera was badly affected. Homes and businesses were destroyed and lives lost.
When the violence hit, a Caritas local partners Kibera Community Youth Programme and the Kenya Youth Foundation responded by launching ‘Operation Hope’ - running a crisis centre for trauma counselling to offer a glimmer of hope for people who have had their lives destroyed.
Rosemary Wanjala, 32, is the Coordinator for Operation Hope. She tells CAFOD,
“It was a very insecure and stressful period. We were the first people to start talking to the community after the violence. People were angry and scared. We just wanted to give them an opportunity to talk and share.”
“Young people are thought of as perpetrators of violence. Instead they were going out in uniform tshirts with a message of peace. People identified with that and found the project unique.
“It’s not cultural to talk about emotions or cry. People may want to cry, but they can’t, perhaps because they don’t want the children to see, or because they don’t have any privacy.”
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