Rachel’s Story: Finding New Hope In Old Places

Rachel didn’t want to go to the trauma healing training class. In fact, she didn’t want to do much of anything. What was the point? Even after learning about trauma and ways she could help her students to begin to heal, she would still be stuck raising children of her own, in a refugee camp of over a quarter million people.

By all outward appearances, Rachel was surviving. She was raising her kids alone, she went to church, and she was adequate at her job as a teacher at the primary school within the camp. But just below the surface, the depression, hyper-vigilance, and fear had finally broken her.

Unsure how she could help others when she herself was so miserable, Rachel tried to come up with a reason not to go. But what excuse could she use - that she was not interested in learning ways to further help her students, her own children, and those in her church community?

Besides, if she said no, her friends would start asking questions… and that scared her more than anything. What if they discovered the depths of her pain? Or worse, what if they uncovered her growing desire to simply end it all? Death, it seemed, was the only way out.

Weighing the odds and pushing away the disgust she felt for herself, she reluctantly agreed to attend the training.


Africa has the highest school exclusion rate in the world.

The number of children not attending school in Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for more than 50% of the global total.

The days began to feel easier. The training that she didn’t want to go to, saved her life.
— African Leadership Staff

Healing Takes Time & Action

And so it began. In the midst of learning how to teach her children how to find words, drama, art, and song for their stories, Rachel recognized the depth of her own pain.

The next part was difficult. Part of the trauma healing course is sharing your story with another person. And so, paired with a fellow classmate, she summoned all of the courage she could muster and for the first time in her adult life, told her story. She told of the heartbreak of being left by her husband, the robbery, the lack of control she felt in her poverty, her hopelessness. And, she told of her growing belief that death would be better.

The words helped. Prayer helped. Intimacy instead of isolation helped. Little by little, the days began to feel easier. The training that she didn’t want to go to, saved her life.

This is the freedom of education; the power of information. Today, Rachel is part of the 1300+ leaders who have been specifically trained in trauma healing by African Leadership to guide their local communities as they begin to heal from the stories of their past.