Here, There and Everywhere

Posts tagged ‘social worker’

ROP Social Worker

From Amakuru! – News from the Rwandan Orphans Project, also known in Rwanda as ROP Center for Street Children.

ROP adds a social worker to the program.

The Rwandan Orphans Project (ROP) has long cared for the physical and educational needs of children who live at the ROP Center. Unfortunately, due to limited financial resources, we haven’t been able to give a substantial amount of attention to their mental health needs. This changed in July when Metamorfose AS, a Norwegian organization, offered to sponsor a social worker/staff psychologist position at the ROP. Metamorfose’s representative, Line Loen, felt that providing care for the emotional and mental health needs of vulnerable children is just as important as providing physical needs and schooling. The children who now live at the ROP each have their own circumstances that led them to the streets and each experience can leave mental trauma and emotional stress in their wake.

Having received news of this support the ROP went about searching for the best candidate to fill this roll. After a lengthy selection process Elisabeth Niyongana was selected as the Social Worker of the ROP. Elisabeth is a graduate of the National University of Rwanda in clinical psychology. She has extensive experience in community work as well as experience working with impoverished youth. Her job as Social Worker includes interviewing each child at the ROP to assess his mental health, counseling children according to their needs, hosting workshops to teach the children various life skills that will benefit them once they have left the ROP, and finding relatives of children at the ROP and building relationships between them with the hope of someday reintegrating the child back into the family.

These are large tasks when you consider that there are nearly 100 boys living at the ROP. But Elisabeth feels she is up to the challenge.

Is There A Secret Formula?

Through my work as an educator, chaplain, social worker and bereavement counselor (and in the personal sphere), there is one issue that keeps grabbing me by the throat and will not let go. I have met people who are grappling with impending loss or transition and others trying to cope with the aftermath of homicide, suicide, accidents, domestic abuse, child abuse, rape, drug addiction and overdose, deaths from “natural causes” and countless other catastrophes or traumas. What I continue to find both amazing and hopeful, is the resilience, healing, understanding and constructive transitions that can become the product of such intense changes and assaults upon the human spirit.

Events that could and often do, crush us psychologically (and/or physically) can also be used for personal transformation and change. There are some individuals that find hope and opportunity in the midst of adversity. Many a day I recall listening to someone describe a childhood of horror and loss that would have shattered me, yet they have been able to find some meaning in their experience and a means to use their trauma instead of letting it use them. Conversely, there are individuals who appear to never recover or constructively adapt to the changes in their lives and let the traumatic event or death control their every thought, word or deed.

There are some obvious environmental or familial histories that provide some credence and supporting evidence to certain responses, yet to rely on such background alone to predict normal or complicated mourning can be misleading and erroneous. Some people who have come from the most secure, loving homes on the planet can still react maladaptively to grief and conversely, those who have never had much love or support in their lives can respond to the same losses with life-affirming choices and behaviors.

If we can find some common threads among those who’ve learned how to constructively use their response to adversity (specifically loss from death of a loved one), we could perhaps find which characteristics, attributes, environments and support systems should be encouraged, strengthened, implemented and utilized for others experiencing similar loss and bereavement.

Tag Cloud