To promote the well-being of the individuals and families, as well as peaceful cohabitation of people by providing accessible mental health, substance abuse/addiction care, education, food security, and job training for families and people of all ages, utilizing a service system that emphasizes trust, respect, confidentiality, compassion, peace and reconciliation. Our intent is to be a centre for the community.
Our vision is of a world where people’s basic needs are met.
The people of Rwanda were affected by the genocide against the Tutsi in many ways. Some suffer severe post-traumatic stress as a result of the events they witnessed, many are struggling with grief at the loss of friends and family, some turn to alcohol and drugs to cope with that loss.
Even those who have successful careers and families of their own might experience depression or unwanted thoughts from time to time, but feel as though they can’t talk about it.
Our centre will be a safe space for anyone who needs a little support provided by qualified, trained staff and experienced in dealing with the full range of conditions specific to genocide survivors and all affected people. We provide group therapy sessions, one-on-one counseling and a range of holistic activities to complement their recovery.
We also want to give people something more to hope for by providing access to education, technology, food security opportunities, and job training.
Currently, we have the beginnings of a farm on several different properties. We have over 300 chickens and 4 goats. Some of the chickens are egg layers but the majority are to sell for meat. Our next step is to open a meat shop so that there will be more profit from the animals. Also, our friends in SHINGIRO may be able to make more profit from their efforts by selling their products in the meat shop. This will also create more employment. Some of the profit will go toward building this centre. In the process, we will help as many people as we can with our resources. Damien is providing counseling through the PEARLS method. Because we have no building, he does this in peoples houses. One day, we will have a centre which provides education, counseling, an IT workspace so that people can find online employment, and provide childcare so that the parents can work. We also hope to have a farm there to teach about food security and help the centre to be more sustainable.
About the founders:
Damien Nkubana Bio:
Damien grew up in Rwanda. At the age of 17, he was a seminary student with the Catholic church during the 1994 genocide. Eventually, he graduated from seminary and became a Catholic priest. Due to uncontrollable circumstances and strong personal reasons, Damien left the priesthood. He now shows his conviction of creating a more peaceful world through his humanitarian efforts. Religion, race, and ethnicity: These things divide us. Damien has let go of dogma to follow the thread that unites us all, compassion. He has an undergraduate education in economics with post baccalaureate training in education and counseling. His counseling work is done through the University of Washington program called PEARLS. He can often be seen working in many villages near Musanze. He works, unrelentingly, to relieve the suffering of his people. Damien Nkubana is the leader and founder of PEARLS Rwanda.
Brandon Swann Bio:
Brandon (who also goes by “Swan”) is a former soldier, peace and conflict student, practitioner in the prevention of violent extremism through education (PVE-E), and co-founder of PEARLS Rwanda.
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