The Democratic Republic of Congo
For more than five years, a regional war raged in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), leaving 5.4 million dead, 1.7 million people displaced and countless torture and war trauma survivors.
Our project in the DRC provided mental health care to men, women and children who were tortured during the war. We hired and trained local counselors to lead counseling groups and reach out to the community. Expatriate psychotherapists supervised these counselors and provided individual counseling to men and women who need additional care.
Between 2007 and 2012, we helped more than 4,800 survivors directly and conducted community events with thousands of Congolese to educate community members about the consequences of torture.
Though many kinds of violent torture were perpetrated in the DRC, rape was one of the most devastating. Sexual torture has been used to unimaginable levels of frequency and severity. CVT addresses the needs of the large number of survivors, both male and female, and has become the referral destination for counseling for cases of rape during war.
In addition to providing healing services, we:
- Trained the staff of international nongovernmental organizations and other agencies to provide appropriate care for survivors
- Conducted home visits to support family members
- Reached out nearly 30,000 Congolese through community and group events with information about the effects of torture, how they can care for themselves and services that are available.
- Our DRC project is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration; the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights; and the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.
Strengthening the Congolese Psychology Network
The Trauma Healing Initiative—Africa project provided training and coaching to local organizations and mental health professionals. We worked with clinical psychology faculty and students at the University of Lubumbashi, DRC, to create a strong mental health network that will continue to heal survivors of torture. The students gained hands-on experience in caring for survivors of torture and war trauma through internships with our community healing projects in Lubumbashi and Moba.
This project is funded by The European Union’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) through December 2011.