Many of the children who attend our CarePoints have experienced heart wrenching loss and grief. Heavy traumas and burdens weigh on these children who have only had a short time to act and play like kids. To be able to move through pain and heal from trauma and loss, the children in the countries we partner with needed a resource to healthily process what they have experienced in life so they can grow to be adults who live fulfilling and productive lives.
Children’s HopeChest staff in Uganda and Swaziland have developed grief counseling programs, which are called Ngesikhatsi in Swaziland, and UNbroken in Uganda. The curriculums are developed for what the individuals have endured and gone through within their own context and culture in their country. The topics and curriculums are translated into multiple languages within the different regions we partner with.
The grief counseling is an emotional and spiritual approach to healing, which has thus far been incredibly impactful on children’s ability to accept and move through pain. Joseph, our Country Director in Uganda, stated, “This program is turning us upside down. It’s that good.”
“My life is not the same today. During my first days at the CarePoint, I was a broken person. My parents had just died and I had no hope that me and my brothers would survive. I am so thankful for the programs provided for us here. My anger issues were dealt with and I am past the denial stage in my life. Thank you Children’s HopeChest!” Londiwe, Swaziland
The CarePoint leaders go through training, which teaches them the curriculum material and equips them to talk about their own experience with loss on a deeper level, allowing them to help others to process their experiences and move toward healing. While UNbroken is still designed for children and youth at the CarePoint, Ngesikhatsi is segmented into two curriculums–one for adults and one for children. The curriculum is offered first to children and their guardians at the CarePoint, and later it is opened up for other members of the community.
The children who participate in these grief programs grow in wisdom to see God’s presence and His plan for their lives despite the pain they have experienced. They grow more resilient as they become deeply rooted in the belief that God cares for them despite their past pain and trauma. They learn to face their losses in order to make sense of their pain. They grow in understanding their own emotions and how to healthily process those emotions. They develop empathy in identifying with others who have experienced similar pain and loss. They learn forgiveness–forgiving their parents in cases when their parents have died or are no longer there for them.
As a result of implementing the grief counseling programs, there is a flood of stories of healing and transformation. CarePoint leaders are seeing families and community grow closer and behavioral challenges in children decrease as the children learn how to process their pain.
“I didn’t understand why my father died while we were so young or why my mother didn’t care for us. This has been so painful in my life, so I started doing bad things with my brothers and friends. However, the more I did those things, the more my life felt hopeless and meaningless. I’ve been in a lot of fights and have been stabbed a few times. I got to a point when I really hated my life. I didn’t want to live.
However, after attending Ngesikhatsi, I began to feel loved. It’s like a light flashed into my life which made me understand: God has always been there for me and He has good plans for my life! I started to feel hope being restored in my life and it became so real that even now I know Jesus loves me and there is hope for my future in Him. His presence made a difference in my life and now my life is better and I have stopped stealing, and I’m associating with good friends.” Innocent, Swaziland, age 16
Thank you so much to our sponsors, partners, and donors who invest in our mission to protect and empower vulnerable and orphaned children. Every gift you send and prayer you speak makes a tangible impact on these children’s lives. Thank you also to our CarePoint leaders and staff who are brave enough to face their own pain so that they can help others do the same.