Healing and Rebuilding Our Communities (HROC)
AGLI is just developing this program which takes ten people from one
side of the conflict with 10 people from the other side and has a three
day workshop to restore normal relationships between the two sides.
In Rwanda, this means Tutsi survivors of the genocide and the families
of the Hutu perpetrators of the genocide. In Burundi, this also means
10 Tutsi and 10 Hutu in each workshop.
Philosophy and Approach:
The HROC program is based on a set of key principles and assumptions.
HROC slowly builds
trust within the group. It is common for participants to be wary of
attending workshops fearing they might be a trap where
they will be attacked, sent back to prison, or killed. Through experiential
activities and cooperative exercises, participants begin to relax. Ground
rules are set to increase the “Sense of Safety,” the first
The second stage
is “Remembrance and Mourning.” There are
two Rwandan proverbs that emphasize the importance of speaking out about
one’s pain: “The family that does not talk, dies” and “The
man who is sick must tell the whole world.” Traditionally Rwandans
and Burundians talk about their losses and talk through their grief with
family and neighbors. Broken trust and dismantled families have impeded
that intuitive process of healing, but it is widely accepted in the cultures
here as an important step in the journey toward healing.
In the workshops
a forum is created for participants to pay tribute to their losses
and to share their grief with others. This process helps
to humanize the “other” thereby laying the foundation for
the third and final stage, “Reconnection.” Many program participants
report having felt very isolated in their grief and their reactions to
the trauma they have experienced. The workshops become an important first
step in realizing that they are not alone. Those who seek the second
level of training to become peer counselors begin to see how they can
use their own painful experiences to help others. As one recent participant
wrote in her evaluation:
“ I was thinking that I have nothing in me, but I found that I
can even use my wounds to heal other people and I found that there is
a good thing in every person even though he/she is full of trauma and
problems.” – genocide orphan
aspect of reconnection is the process of rebuilding relationships across
the lines of “Hutu” and “Tutsi”,
thereby strengthening the fabric of communities torn apart by a long
history of violence.
workshops are AGLI’s primary methodology.
Our workshops are experiential, active and evocative, involving the participants
as agents in their learning process. Each lesson aims to teach on three
levels: the heart or emotional level, the head or intellectual level,
and the hand, or practical level. Using popular education methodology,
the workshop content is drawn from the participants’ own lives,
acknowledging that participants are the experts about what is needed
in their own communities.
Burundi: The staff of the HROC program in Burundi has decided
to concentrate their activities in six specific up-country communities
in order to
make a decisive difference in healing in those communities. At each
site healing companions will conduct basic HROC workshops, follow-up
days, and community celebrations in their community.
has also developed a specific program for HIV+ people, which provides
education, support, and trauma healing. HROC-Burundi
will also be developing and carrying out their Advanced workshop
for those who have completed the basic HROC workshop.