Denis Hurley Peace Institute, a catholic peace and charity foundation has trained community volunteers in Nigeria’s Anambra State to equip them with psychosocial skills to provide care to mentally challenged people in the West African country.
In an interview on Tuesday, August 23, DHPI Director Johan Viljoen said that thousands of victims of terrorist attacks in Nigeria have developed mental challenges owing to the killings and displacements they have witnessed. He added that they are presently roaming the streets of Anambra without any form of psychosocial support.
The Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) peace entity is working with the Handmaids of the Holy Child Jesus (HHCJ) members to help mentally challenged people deal with their trauma. The organisation in Nigeria’s Catholic Diocese of Ekwulobia is helping equip the volunteers with the skills to handle trauma and cases of bereavement.
According to Viljoen, many victims of attacks in Nigeria, who have seen their loved ones get killed, their homes and farms get destroyed, have had mental breakdowns and now roam the streets as “Demented and Homeless people.”
He insisted that there was a pressing need for psychosocial support, adding, “We are training 30 community members as trauma and bereavement counsellors to fill the need.”
Mr Viljoen said that two DHPI collaborators have travelled to Nigeria’s Anambra State from South Africa to facilitate the training, which started on Tuesday, August 23 and will end on Saturday, August 27.
He added that the training was initially scheduled to start on August 22, but it had to be moved a day forward owing to the sit-at-home advisory that has been given in Southeast Nigeria. Nigerians in the embattled Southern States stay home on Mondays in caution of attacks.
With the members of HHCJ, who are already running a feeding program for the victims of terrorist attacks in Anambra, DHPI identified the 30 community workers undergoing the five-day training at St Jude’s Church in Umuchukwu.