Koinonia Trust Trauma Healing Centre, Liberia
Momo teaching about feelings
During the years of war in Liberia many children were separated from their parents at a very young age. This continued from 1989 to 2003 and unfortunately the damaging consequences of this trauma have affected not just that generation but also the next, as those who are now becoming parents have had few good role models.After the wars, Ebola caused more trauma, with the death of 5,000 in the outbreaks in 2014/15, leaving many children orphaned. Unemployment is very high; levels of education and health are poor.
The Koinonia Trust is based in Monrovia, in the districts of Clara Town and Vai Town (population approx. 45,000) where there is absolute poverty with poor housing and sanitation. The charity works alongside local religious and community leaders to help build the capacity of local people in various ways and through several different projects.
One such project is Trauma Healing. Many adults and children have been hurt or traumatized and this programme empowers them to process what has happened and to move forward with their lives. In 2018, the Koinonia Trust facilitated three training groups following courses designed by The Trauma Healing Institute in America. As a result, they now have 10 more people certified to work with traumatised adults. However, there is a need to train facilitators to work with children and the Mandala Trust is funding this separate certified training.
Low literacy levels, resulting from the decades of disruption to Liberia’s education system, are also limiting young people’s potential. The Koinonia Trust has begun to run reading groups and study groups for children and students who are sitting their state exams, using funds from the Mandala Trust to furnish a room and library space.
Koinonia is also supporting its activities through the development of social enterprises such as running a taxi in Monrovia in order to generate income for stipend payments for locals in 2019/20.