Monday, August 4, 2014

From Survivor To Thriver

I briefly touched on my experience with one of the women’s empowerment groups offered through THRIVE Gulu, my internship agency, in my last post.

While the concept of empowerment is a main component of THRIVE’s services, they offer a variety of other group and individual activities designed to assist the communities of Northern Uganda to heal from traumatic events of war, sexual enslavement, extreme poverty and lost opportunities.

THRIVE provides disadvantaged youth with computer skills classes with the hope that graduates of the classes will be able to return to school and/or find employment.  THRIVE also offers yoga therapy, business skills training, “exposure visits” for women in Gulu town (story telling about successful business endeavors), life skills training groups, character development/relationship building groups, recreational activities designed to reduce anxiety/increase group cohesiveness, hygiene and financial management groups, music and dance therapy, mentorship, narrative trauma counseling, and psychoeducation regarding PTSD and other symptoms of trauma.

Dora Alal Single, Program Director, is THRIVE Gulu’s fearless leader.

A glance at one (of eight) of the women's empowerment groups that THRIVE supports.  The three silver bowls shown collect weekly member contributions to the 'group fund', often used to assist with the group member's healthcare expenses or business endeavors.

Chris teaching a computer skills class for disadvantaged youth at THRIVE.

Partner work during yoga therapy aids in the creation of trust and teamwork skills.

Geoffrey (the financial manager) and I showcasing information on THRIVE services.

The meditative element of yoga therapy helps in improve focus and decrease anxiety/depression.

This is another women's empowerment group within the community.  This group included several abduction returnees, widows and single mothers.  Providing treatment through these constructed groups builds a ‘safety net’ support system for these women.  It creates a sense of community and group members learn to take care of one another as well as themselves.  

This proud 'papa' shows off twin offspring of the 'seed goat' that THRIVE provided his family.  Goat rearing can provide a sustainable livelihood for many Ugandan citizens.

THRIVE is providing wonderful and much needed services to communities of northern Uganda.  This agency has grand plans to grow and expand but is currently lacking appropriate funding to carry out its full vision.

For more information on THRIVE or to get involved, please visit their website:

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