The fourth step in the Protection Plan, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, helps children who have defected from the LRA reintegrate into their communities and families. Historically, over 70% of children abducted by the LRA experience symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) upon escape from the group. With such astounding levels of trauma, intensive care and rehabilitation are needed to successfully reintegrate these children into society. Invisible Children partnered with experienced LRA rehabilitators and local community leaders to establish the first rehabilitation center in Dungu, DR Congo.
As abductions continue throughout Central Africa, Invisible Children is partnering with renowned LRA-trauma specialist, Els de Temmerman, and the leadership of CDJP-Dungu, to establish the first trauma-focused rehabilitation program in the LRA-affected regions of northeastern Congo. Invisible Children, using its construction expertise from our education programs in Uganda, built the center with local labor and largely local materials. The center, located in Dungu, is locally managed and provides one-on-one counseling, utilizing a variety of therapy approaches adapted to each youth, including UNICEF-approved Narrative Exposure Therapy (NET). The center provides vocational and life skills training, school catch-up programs, and reunification services.
Upon completion of the second phase of construction, the center will have capacity for up to 250 children and youth to reside at the center where they receive holistic counseling services, which are also available for less-severe outpatient cases. Currently, a limited number of severely traumatized children are receiving treatment while the center builds staff capacity and develops systems. Full capacity is targeted for fall 2012. Program management coordinates with both local and international NGOs and UN agencies to ensure that the center’s activities are utilized by, and fit within, the regional psychosocial and protection strategies.