Burundi 2017

coming in June!

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Burundi 2013

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Partnership for Trauma Healing in Africa Healing in Africa Logo

Burundi 2017

THARS Centres, Gitega & Bujumbura, Burundi

Dates: June 22 - July 11, 2017


Blog accounts of Burundi 2011 and Burundi 2013 are available at http://psychopastor.com and http://withintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com

Mission and Vision

The Mission of the Partnership for Trauma Healing in Africa is to come along side organizations in war torn areas of Africa to support and facilitate community, family, and individual emotional and spiritual healing. We believe firmly in working with local organizations and taking a support role to help in areas in which we are invited.

The vision of Burundi 2017 is specifically to continue our partnership with Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services (THARS; www.thars.org) to support them in their on-going efforts to promote trauma healing and reconciliation in Burundi and the Great Lakes Region of Africa after years of ethnic conflict and war.

If you are interested in financially supporting these efforts, please click on the donate button below.

Development & Research Innovations, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

History of the Partnership

The Partnership began with a connection between a DRI board member, Vickie Beam, who grew up in Burundi and a long time family friend, David Nyonzima, with whom she reconnected in 2008. After years of discussion and prayer regarding the desire of DRI board members to come alongside local people from war torn areas of Africa to assist with peace and trauma healing efforts, this connection was made unexpectedly during the planning of a return visit to Burundi by Vickie and her family. As she made plans for visiting her old stomping grounds, she discovered that David had founded an organization called Trauma Healing and Reconciliation Services! We had hoped to connect with someone on the continent, but had no idea it would be someone in her .home. country with whom she was well familiar!

This surprise discovery led to a few years of exploration and preparation to determine the best ways to collaborate, and ultimately led to two service trips to Burundi (so far) and on-going plans for continued collaboration.

Activities to Date

DRI has sent teams two times to Burundi to do the following:

  1. Provide hard-to-access resources
    • Books, therapeutic resources
    • Art supplies, office supplies
    • Tools, clothing
    • Soccer and other sports equipment
    • Therapeutic programs
  2. Provide training in Trauma Healing to mental health professionals, community leaders, pastors
    • Our model is to train leaders from throughout Burundi so they can then go out and train others around the country thereby multiplying the efforts
      • The questions that the trainees are asking are evidence that they’re learning and that they really care about the subject matter. At the end of the first seminar, on Wednesday, a woman got up to speak on behalf of all of the trainees to say how grateful they all are and that what they are learning is already being applied in their minds. She also said that they are excited to share what they’ve learned with colleagues back in all of the separate regions of Burundi. – withintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com

    • We take the perspective of being instruments to transfer information that is quite easy for us to access to people who do not have such easy access. We view the training participants as the experts in their own culture and unique circumstances and trust them to translate the information into formats that will be useful and culturally relevant to them.
      • One of the great joys of teaching in Burundi is how eager they are to learn. – psychopastor.com

    • We use a variety of multi-modal techniques for training including didactics, small and large group discussion, role play, storytelling, drama, music, play, and practicing techniques.
    • We use scriptural and psychological principles in our teaching
  3. Provide community programming for local children and youth
    • Conducted a therapeutic program for children that includes building skills for emotional awareness, social interaction, healthy behavior, communication and conflict resolution, forgiveness, and other skills important to building healthy, peaceful individuals, families and communities.
      • It wouldn’t be Africa, though, unless there were the children. Upwards of forty children all at once, kicking soccer balls high into the air and throwing Frisbees and tennis balls across the little field we confine them to. They are truly a sight to behold. I’m always struck by how much happier they are than most American children, and how much less entitled the African children act despite the fact that they have almost nothing. That’s not an exaggeration, either. They are members of the Twa tribe, the poorest tribe in the poorest region of Africa. None of them have shoes and many of them don’t have pants either. Their clothing is all stained the same color by constant exposure to the red Gitega dirt. Even the soccer balls we’ve been using, only for four days, mind you, have turned the same color. – withintheheartofafrica.blogspot.com

    • Provided materials and training for the therapeutic programming for their on-going use as desired
  4. Provide all training, lodging, and travel expenses for participants so attending the training sessions is not a hardship for the local people
  5. We presented a workshop at the American Association for Christian Counselors International Conference in Nashville, Tennessee in 2013 regarding international partnerships and the work we have done in Burundi


  1. Participants
    • Approximately 70 mental health professionals, community leaders, and pastors from local and remote locations in Burundi participated in the trainings
    • Follow-up workshops have been scheduled and run in Burundi lead by former participants at our trainings to reach more leaders throughout Burundi
    • Approximately 150 children have participated in the community programming
  2. Resources provided include books, therapeutic supplies, art supplies, office supplies, therapeutic equipment, therapeutic programming, sports equipment, software, IT support, clothing, tools, and more
    • Each [child] hopped up from the foot washing and marched over to receive a brand new shirt – maybe the first new item of clothes they ever had. Not one child put their new clothes on, but reverently kept them neatly folded to take home. A couple of children had nothing to wear on the bottom half of their body and they were clearly aware of the stigma that came from being pant less in a clothed society. We put some denim shorts on them and all the children cheered. Whether from empathy or relief at not getting mooned all the time was unclear, but we were happy. – psychopastor.com

  3. Provided a team to work on service projects such as repairing walls for the THARS campus.
  4. Brought leaders of THARS to the American Association for Christian Counselors International Conference in Nashville, Tennessee in 2011 for training and networking
  5. Consulted with mental health professionals and leaders in Rwanda regarding creating a counseling center as part of the Friends Peace House in Kigali

Future Plans

  1. We plan to maintain the partnership for as long as it is beneficial to THARS and Burundi
  2. We plan to return for the third time in June, 2017
  3. THARS is opening a new Creative Arts University on their campus in 2017 and they have requested that we help them with supplies and expertise for their start up.
  4. THARS and International Leandership University, Bujumbura, Burundi have requested that we teach university level courses for credit when we return to Burundi in 2017
  5. We will bring tools and kitchen supplies to THARS in 2017 to help support their areas of new growth.
  6. We are raising funds to help the THARS campus in Gitega obtain electricity
  7. We continue to raise funds to support students/participants in Burundi to attend workshops and training sessions.

2011 Africa Project Slideshow

2013 Africa Project Brochure

2017 Africa Project Brochure - coming soon

2013 Africa Project Slideshow - coming soon