According to UNICEF, 1 million children in Uganda have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Studies of HIV/AIDS orphans in Uganda have shown an increased risk of childhood depression, anxiety, and behavioral disorders, even when basic material needs are met. The effects can lead to higher risk of depression and PTSD symptoms in adulthood.
Physical and sexual violence also has a profound impact on psychosocial health. According to Uganda’s 2011 Demographic and Health Survey, over 50% of young adult women have experienced physical violence and nearly 30% have experienced sexual violence.
Unaddressed, the effects of trauma caused by extreme loss and violence can impede a survivor’s ability to focus in school, have healthy relationships, make positive life choices, care for families, and earn a sustainable income. Worse yet, the effects of trauma can pass from generation to generation.
COLUMN WITH BACKGROUND COLOR
Despite the high quality of holistic care that Nyaka provides, its children are not immune to the impact of trauma, and feelings of loss, grief, shame, and stigma. In recent years, incidents of sexual violence have affected Nyaka students and local community members - including the rape of children as young as 5 years old.
Edja Foundation is working to end violence and abuse in the community, through educational and economic empowerment programs for victims and their families, physical and mental health support, and legal services.
In Summer 2017, our team will travel to Kanungu, southwest Uganda to train Nyaka staff and local leaders in the Safe Embrace Trauma Healing model, so they can implement trauma-informed care and healing programs in the community. The objectives of the training are to: