After visiting Rwanda for the first time in 2004, Rebecca Tinsley realised that being informed about genocide is not enough; the resilient and resourceful genocide survivors she met there deserved practical help to rebuild their lives and communities.
In 2007 she founded Network for Africa to support respected Rwandan groups offering education, training and health care to genocide orphans and widows. Our mission is to empower local people to directly transform their life chances, not by offering a superficial quick fix, but through training that has a lasting impact. This is often achieved by working with women, the true agents of change in any society that denies them a stake or equal status. Local survivors told Network for Africa they needed education and training to improve their self-confidence and ability to work together to solve their problems.
Our success in Rwanda led us to use the same approach in northern Uganda, where the 22-year war between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Ugandan army robbed an entire population of hope. Survivors of the conflict told us they felt paralysed by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) so in 2008, we started our first trauma counselling training sessions there. We set up our first dedicated community mental health programme, thanks to a grant from the Baring and John Ellerman Foundations. Network for Africa recruited and trained a team of community counsellors who reach thousands of traumatised local people through group and individual counselling. They also support local psychiatric nurses, counselling thousands of trauma sufferers and people with recent HIV diagnosis.View Our History At A Glance