A Place of Hope: Dreams for the Will Barnhill Counseling Center

As we near the end of our Building on Hope fundraiser, we wanted to share a bit more about some of our 2021 goals for our counseling program!


In the first blog of our Building on Hope blog series we introduced you all to our 2021 goals for the counseling program. The second blog focused on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi and the lingering trauma that has occurred as a result. The third blog featured counseling testimonies from our staff, and in the fourth piece, we discussed the lay counselor training program.


As we near the end of our Building on Hope fundraiser, we wanted to wrap things up by sharing the dreams we have for the Will Barnhill Counseling Center. Not only will this building be a place of hope and healing for those experiencing the unimaginable but also plays a direct role in achieving our goals for the counseling center.



Before moving on to read more about our goals for 2021, we encourage you to take a few minutes to watch our latest video, below, where we discuss the effects of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, the counseling program and how we plan to keep moving forward. Enjoy!





Goal #1: Hire three new counselors

Our counseling team, though currently a two woman team, is a force to be reckoned with! Lead counselor, Olive Muhawenimana, and her assistant, Mary Clair Umurerwa, are a talented, busy duo. With responsibilities such as facilitating group and individual counseling sessions, checking on children of staff members at school, leading lay counselor trainings and more, their plates are full. 

So that is exactly why we want to add three counselors to the team! A bigger team means designated individuals to assist our staff AND team members to facilitate the expansion of the lay counselor program at the same time. And though there are many individuals in Rwanda with counseling knowledge, it can be difficult to find professionals with the proper education in psychology. Please be praying for us as we search for the right people to join our team!

Now, our staff work in two rooms in the main building on property. But the completion of our counseling center means not only a space designated for only counseling, but it means we have the space to hire more staff and to ensure more privacy for clients during their sessions.


Click here to read our recent blog post where we shared a bit more about our lay counselor program.



Goal #2: Addiction counseling services

There are many people throughout Rwanda experiencing pain and trauma as a result of 1994 Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsi and many have turned to alcohol, or other substances, as a way to cope with the pain and trauma.

As there are no addiction counseling services in the surrounding area our lead counselor, Olive, realized the opportunity we had to fill that gap. She knew that, if we wanted to continue to be a source of healing for the surrounding community and if we wanted to expand our program, we would need to begin offering services to those struggling with addiction.

We are thrilled that Olive Olive, will soon begin a course to become certified in alcohol and drug abuse disorders, behavioral addictions and treatment methods! The introduction of this knowledge into our program is a critical piece of the puzzle. We pray that it will be a fruitful, beneficial experience for her and that the Lord will use this knowledge to further our mission.



Goal #3: Continue growing the lay counselor training program and graduate 12 new lay counselors

Our goal for 2020 was to graduate 25 new lay counselors from our training program but unfortuntaely, due to COVID, our priorities changed and our goals shifted for the remainder of the year.

Now, a year later, we’re more ready than ever to grow our lay counselor program! This year we want to:

  • Graduate 12 new lay counselors,

  • create further curriculum for those who have completed the original program and would like to further their counseling knowledge,

  • hire three new, full-time Handspun Hope counselors,

  • and increase the number of lay counselor trainings offered each year!


Click here to read our recent blog post where we shared a bit more about our lay counselor program.



Building on Hope

A critical piece of the mourning and reconciliation process for our staff dealing with trauma is our counseling program.
We began this year with a goal to raise $16,000 to finish the second floor of the counseling center. While we raised a portion of the funds needed through the Heading for Hope Virtual 5k, we’ve launched a new fundraiser for the month of April to help us meet our goal:
Building on Hope: The Finish Line Fundraiser for The Will Barnhill Counseling Center.

We’re on a mission to raise the remaining $14,000 needed to build the second level of our counseling center.

We also have some VERY generous individuals who have agreed to match donations up to $7,000!

This means that when you give, your donation is D O U B L E D! (Yes, you read that right!) $5 is $10. $100 is $200. $250 is $500!
Every gift matters. Every amount makes a difference. When you give, you provide critical mental health services to people who have suffered the unimaginable. You create a space where stories will be rewritten and lives made new.


And, most importantly, you give hope.






This blog is part five of a five part blog series for our latest fundraiser, Building on Hope: The Finish Line Fundraiser for The Will Barnhill Counseling Center. To read the first blog in the series and learn more about the fundraiser, click the link below.




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