Group of Traumatized of Nyiragongo

Group of Traumatized of Nyiragongo

The ETN Vocational Training Center (Equipe de Traumatisés de Nyiragongo or Group of Traumatized of Nyiragongo) was founded in 2008 to teach at-risk youth and former child soldiers how to integrate Goma’s workforce through workshops in carpentry, sewing, mechanics, tailoring, and welding.

The goal is to teach these young adults how to become highly skilled workers in their communities so that they can start their own businesses and serve as community leaders.

In 2015, nearly 80 at-risk youth and former child soldiers were effectively re-integrated into society and are working to strengthen the resilience of their communities. Nearly 20% of them have created their own businesses.

Today ETN’s centers in Goma, Masisi, Kibabi and Kitchanga house 75 former child soldiers. As part of their re-integration model, ETN offers therapy sessions and organize cultural and sports activities, including theatre, dance, and soccer.

And the model works, as ETN Program Director David Ngufu explains: “This activity has worked well; we did an evaluation last year to analyze any signs of depression in the kids and noticed that 75% of the children that had participated in therapy sessions were psychologically stable.”

In 2016, ETN will partner with ECI to integrate more of our “We Came Back With Empty Hands” report findings into their projects that aim to help at-risk youth play an active role in their effective re-integration into society.

ETN will also open a day care center for young mothers in order to increase the number of women participating in the professional training program. These young girls are stigmatized, marginalized, and rejected by their communities.

So for Ngufu, this initiative is a key part of the project: “In the past, mothers had to leave class to take care of their children, while the others could keep studying for hours. Sometimes they even had to go home if the kids were sick.”

“With the on-site day care center we are hoping to see a change. Mothers will be able to take part in all the activities as their children will be taken care of. The women who benefit from this service are proud to be in the program and determined to perform well.”

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