Cecile is a participant in the Women's Peace and Recovery Program. She was a part of the trainings in trauma healing with other women affected by the decades of violence in Burundi. After trauma healing with other women from different sides of the conflict, participants work in groups on micro-finance projects and some are trained as community health and peace workers.
When I came to the workshop, I was feeling so bad, my heart was about to explode. I first had problems with my children, which caused me so much pain. In addition, three weeks ago something horrible happened: my husband died. Since that day, I was always sad; I never laughed anymore or expressed any joy. I used to come back home from work and go straight to my room where I stayed alone in silence. I would hear my children telling stories, conversing in the house but I would not participate, I did not want to talk, I was sad all the time because I lost the one who used to help me in everything. But when I started coming to the workshop, what we learned helped me so much. I feel better now, I even started to laugh again. I feel released. Thank you very much for coming, I hope and ask you to come more often.
At the end of each workshop, participants were given time to testify about how they were feeling and many women tell their stories. They are all thankful for the workshops, saying it was both helpful to them personally, as well as for other members of their families and communities. They also report that not only has the Women's Peace and Recovery Program improved their day-to-day lives in the short term, but there is potential for further reconciliation and rebuilding if these workshops continue in their communities.