Ibrahim is an 18-year-old living in a small village, called Buzika, in Uganda. When he was six his family faced a monumental tragedy. His father – the breadwinner, defender, and protector of his family – passed away. Ibrahim’s mother was widowed and stepped into the challenging role of single mother.
Before his father passed, he took measures to make sure that his family would be taken care of in the event of his death. He left his family with land that Ibrahim and his siblings could share and cultivate for food and resources. He also asked his brother, Ibrahim’s uncle, to protect and take care of his family.
Unfortunately, after his father’s death, Ibrahim’s uncle quickly seized the land his father left for his family and sold it for his own gain. In the midst of the emotional pain that Ibrahim’s family experienced, they now also had to start over with fewer resources. Ibrahim’s mother had no way of providing for her family, and under these circumstances Ibrahim began attending the Nabukalu CarePoint.
The financial burden that his mother shouldered was alleviated as he began eating daily nutritious meals and was surrounded by a community who cared deeply about him and his family. At the CarePoint he also received educational support and is now pursuing his dream of studying motor vehicle mechanics at a vocational technical institute. Despite the new opportunities and resources that he had, there was still a bitterness sitting heavy in his heart. The CarePoint staff enrolled him in UNbroken, the grief counseling course offered to youth at CarePoints in Uganda. Children’s HopeChest’s grief counseling programs are life-transforming for the children and young adults who have experienced trauma and immense pain. Although all of HopeChest’s CarePoints and Ministry Centers have an element of counseling and emotional support, the main programs for grief counseling are in Swaziland (Ngesikhatsi) and Uganda (UNbroken).
Ibrahim did the difficult work of processing his father’s death and his uncle’s actions while in the course, and genuinely felt able to forgive his uncle for taking advantage of his land. His relationship with his uncle is becoming healthier and growing, and he has experienced a sense of relief in his heart from releasing the anger toward his uncle. Ibrahim is so thankful for the grief counseling program at the CarePoint, which heals wounded souls and restores broken relationships.
“If there is pain that I have suffered in my heart, it is the burden of not forgiving my uncle because of grabbing the land my father left for my siblings and I after he died. I thank God that after going through the UNbroken course at the CarePoint, I learned the importance of forgiveness and decided to forgive him and no longer hold him in my heart. I am relieved with much hope in God who hold good plans for my future and cares for me, as it is written in Jeremiah 29:11. I believe my testimony will change many lives out there,” says Ibrahim.
If you enjoyed today’s blog, you’ll LOVE hearing more stories about resilient youth overcoming trauma and pain straight from Joe Lombard, the man who leads grief counseling training in Uganda and Swaziland. Joe will be presenting on his cross-cultural approach to grief and trauma counseling at the Global Partners Conference this September! You can learn more about the conference, here.