Minnesota Training Projects | Center for Victims of Torture

Minnesota Training Projects

Our training initiatives in Minnesota focused on increasing knowledge about the effects of torture and strengthening existing services for the care of torture survivors. We train mainstream health and human services providers, teachers and refugees. Our goal is to build networks among professionals and refugee communities to improve communication, access to care and understanding of torture and war trauma survivors.



New Neighbors/Hidden Scars

In 2005 CVT launched an ambitious project to bring healing to recent African refugees and immigrants now living in the Minneapolis suburbs of Brooklyn Park and Brooklyn Center. Over 15,000 African immigrants had moved into the community and estimates revealed that 8,500 of them were survivors of torture and war trauma.

CVT developed the New Neighbors/Hidden Scars project to bring together a network of schools, clinics, churches and social service organizations to help these new residents heal from their physical and emotional wounds. This network planned ways to help the new community members receive their basic needs and rebuild their lives.

With the help of the network, the New Neighbors/Hidden Scars project:

  • Educated the community on the symptoms and effects of torture
  • Trained medical and social service professionals to work with survivors of war trauma
  • Reassured African immigrants they aren't alone in their pain and that help is available
  • Developed referral systems among the local clinics and organizations
  • Created care systems that can respond to torture and war trauma survivors
  • Provided support groups for students in middle and high school
  • Initiated a church-based support group to offer emotional support and spiritual sustenance
  • Launched a food pantry to provide traditional African foods at no cost

CVT completed the three-year project in November 2008.

Project Study
Communicating Trauma with Providers (PDF) is a CVT study conducted in 2006 that found many refugees fleeing political conflict and violence are affected by their experiences but have not spoken to their doctors about them.


Our Minnesota Mainstream project CVT trained doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers and other professionals about the devastating effects of torture and recommended specific ways to support torture survivors. The project focused on professionals in various Minnesota communities where refugees and immigrants were located. By understanding the torture experience, these professionals learned to provide their services in a way to help torture survivors. The Minnesota Mainstream Project provided training to nearly 17,000 professionals between 1997 and 2003. CVT built on this ambitious project in developing our other community-based training projects—New Neighbors/Hidden Scars and Healing in Partnership.


We heal victims of torture through unique services and professional care worldwide.

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We strengthen partners who heal torture survivors and work to prevent torture.

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We advocate for the protection & care of torture survivors and an end to torture.

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