Democratic Republic the Congo (DRC)
Attempts to offer training to World Vision staff in Beni, DRC, have been thwarted several times. Beni, in the northeast of the DRC, is the focus of the second-largest Ebola outbreak in Africa. It also lies at the heart of a civil war that has been raging for decades. World Vision International has long been bringing hope and relief to this broken community. However, the emotional pain of the children did not receive enough attention and Word Vision invited Petra Institute to come and help with training. In 2019 we were prevented from going several times, but with the Covid-19 restrictions, we finally decided to offer the training online.
Phiona Koyiet *, World Vision, explains the value of training for World Vision. She acted as coordinator and observer during the course.
“This training is very relevant for World Vision because we focus on children in all our programs. We use faith leaders to reach out to children as much as possible. Christianity and children as a focus are our trademarks. So if we simplify our structured training in this way, we will be able to reach many more children in a very simple but very important, high-quality intervention, and which is very easy to train people at any level of the community in this.”
“The course was very well organised for virtual presentation, in terms of content, quality, psychological support, and supervision. It was encouraging to see what the participants achieved with the children and how they enjoyed the activities with them.
“Five selected spiritual leaders from the local community were first trained in the Entering the World of Children course. They were then trained as tutors. As part of this training, they trained 10 others in the community and went on to teach countless others how to enter the world of children with the attitude of Jesus. A few weeks later, the group of 5 went through our Walking with Wounded Children course, where they were able to learn how to pay specific attention to the trauma that got stuck in children’s lives and finally they were also taught how to equip others in these skills. They have already trained their first students and are on fire to take it to the rest of their ruined region.
“With the training of the first group of 10 students the participants had to present, their passion and dedication were remarkable, which clearly shows that the training they received equipped them to pass on the same training to others.
“It was also clear that the children thoroughly enjoyed it because they looked forward to every time the leaders came to play with them.”
* Senior Technical Adviser on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support, World Vision International.
Three years ago, a medical doctor, Kobus Hugo, and his wife Charlotte attended the Walking with Wounded Children course in White River. As often in the past, the Lord has His specific appointments with people. Charlotte and Kobus become aware that the Lord has a special commission for them. The couple has been in Mongolia for the past two years. Kobus worked as a doctor for International SOS and Charlotte, among others, became involved with the Asian Foundation Orphanage. From the beginning, Charlotte and Kobus were convinced that a course with the skills they had learned from Petra Institute would be necessary for the staff of the orphanage. They tell stories of severe hardship and suffering of abandoned children in Mongolia. In general, they experience that people in Mongolia struggle to speak about their emotions and do not really listen when others do tell about their own struggles.
They then plan a course for September 2020, but Covid-19 arrives, and the Hugo’s are trapped in Mongolia – no one can enter of leave. However, with the internet, we can go anywhere and so it happens that Hongoroo, Javkhlan, Ganaa and Azaa, leaders of the orphanage, gather in Charlotte’s apartment in Ulaanbaatar to learn about Jesus’ love for children and how to enter their world through play and stories. As a bonus, one of our alumni, Suzanna Azmy from Egypt, also joins. She and her husband are currently managers of an orphanage in South Sudan. Corry Vreugdenhill, the eighty-year-old founder of the orphanage, sits in on the course from Holland and is very impressed with the change in the relationships between her staff and the children. The focus is on how to build relationships with children and to look at children through God’s eyes. The course attendees go back to the orphanage every day to play with the children, sit with them on the floor, exchange stories, and really listen. In this way, a new world opens up for children’s workers and children. We are deeply grateful that the course changes lives. We then train the four how to equip others. They immediately take the information further to all the other orphanage workers and to some of the local churches. Not long after, other orphanages invite Hongoroo and her team to also train them. May the Lord multiply this work and His love for the children in Mongolia.