Environmental professor and author David W. Orr once wrote “Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up”.
I love this quote and think of it often when thinking about the women we employ in Rwanda. I love it because of the implication…
Hope is not just a wish…a dream… a longing for things to change.
Hope requires work. It requires action.
This quote often comes to mind when thinking about the lay counseling training program we offer in Rwanda. We have been featuring our counseling program in our blog posts throughout the month of September (if you missed the first two you can read them here and here).
We hired Olive Muhawenimana (right), Lead Counselor of True Vineyard's counseling program, in 2014. Olive earned her Bachelor's Degree in Clinical Psychology from the National University of Rwanda and, with the help of her assistant Marie Claire Umurewa (left), provides counseling for each of our employees.
As we saw the transformations occurring in the ladies as a result of having regular access to counseling, we knew we had to extend the service to others…beyond the walls of our cooperative…
…because hope is contagious.
2014 marked the twentieth anniversary of the Genocide against the Tutsi. During this time, it became clear that many Rwandans were reliving the traumatic episodes they endured during that 100-day period. We realized we were equipped to provide a broader spectrum of emotional care to the entire Musanze District through the counseling program we had been using with our own employees. And, if we could positively affect our own community, perhaps we could reach farther and spread the healing that comes from counseling into other areas of Rwanda.
True Vineyard hosted a Lay Counselor Training Program for Rwandan leaders who were interested in committing to a ten-week course. During this time, these leaders learned how to offer trauma counseling to members of their own community. Leaders from nearby villages were invited to take part in this comprehensive and free training to equip lay counselors to care for their community members.
The commitment and response of the attendees spoke to the need for trauma counseling throughout the country. Two nuns attended the training in order to provide support to the local parish communities. Leaders from other non-profit organizations attended to strengthen their services, and a headmistress from a local secondary school and multiple pastors opted to take advantage of the training.
Because hope is empowering.
True Vineyard Ministries is thrilled to provide this level of widespread care to the entire Musanze District and to other communities in Rwanda. To date, True Vineyard has provided trauma counsel training to over 200 community leaders and has plans to host our next lay counselor training in the fall of 2019. We estimate thousands of Rwandese people have received trauma counseling as a result of this program.
Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.
When people realize there is hope, movement occurs:
That, my friends, is hope in action.
One of our goals for the ministry is to hire additional counselors. Olive and Marie Claire work tirelessly to care for the mental health of the women we employ. We want to hire three additional counselors so that we are able to provide more frequent small group and individual counseling. Having additional counselors on staff will also allow us to offer lay counselor training more frequently.
If you would like to help us meet this goal, you may click here to reach our donate page or click the “Give” link at the top of this page. Make your donation in the “Other” section and designate it to the counseling program.
We hope you will roll up your sleeves and join us as we spread hope throughout Rwanda.