"These Children are Nobody's Children"
A new short film documents a trip taken by eight Chicago School students
and two faculty members to Kigali, Rwanda as they train 21 childcare
professionals, teachers, and orphanage workers how to recognize, assess,
and effectively intervene with children who experience, or are exposed
to, traumatic life events.
Called the Global HOPE Training Initiative, HOPE stands for Healing
Opportunities through Purposeful Engagement --the program, first
launched in November 2009, draws upon the expertise of Chicago School
faculty, and now psychology students, to train mental health care
workers in strategies and skills that can be used in the assessment,
prevention, and treatment of trauma.
"Reading about it and hearing about it is just not enough. Students have
an open dialogue with Global HOPE participants and have the ability to
really understand the psychosocial issues that are facing Rwanda," says
Dr. Tiffany Masson, a Chicago School faculty member who developed the
Global HOPE curriculum and traveled with students on the 10-day trip.
"Our students have the opportunity to share their knowledge and previous
training, which really allows the participants to take that and then
transform into something that is culturally adequate and pertinent to
the country of Rwanda."
For example, in one segment, a Chicago School student and two
participants explain how using a musical expression can help children
alleviate stress. They describe an activity that involved selecting a
child to lead classmates in the singing of a song about hope. "If
students are together, holding hands, they feel unity, they feel
togetherness, they feel supported," says one of the participants.
The film follows several Chicago School students as they express their
feelings and goals for the trip, interact with participants in in-class
training sessions, and get to know some of the children who will benefit
from the training.
"These children are nobody's children. They have been through genocide and had other psychosocial issues," says Jean Paul, an orphanage director featured in the film. "With the knowledge from Global HOPE, I know how to make them happier than before."
Watch a trailer of the new film here.
If you live in the Los Angeles or Chicago area, join us for a screening of the film and a panel discussion with the students, faculty, and filmmaker Udi Goren, who traveled to Rwanda. The Los Angeles film screening will be held on November 14 and the Chicago film screening will be held on November 16. Click here for more details.