Dr. Karen Fancher recently returned from a trip to Nairobi, Kenya, where she facilitated a three-day seminar on healing from the wounds of trauma. The professor of global studies/global development and justice studies had the privilege of meeting with refugees from South Sudan who had fled the civil war in their country.
Pastors, community leaders and youth leaders from several different tribes — who would be considered enemies in their home country — attended the seminar together. When asked what they desired to gain from meeting, two primary themes emerged from the group: “to get rid of this hatred in our hearts, and to work toward building peace.” Participants shared openly with one another, and they committed to work together to foster peace and support the process of healing among the South Sudanese community.
Life as a refugee in Kenya is difficult, as most refugees do not have permission to work, and thus struggle to find ways to survive. In spite of the challenges, many of the attendees stated a desire to get further training while in Kenya, and to one day help rebuild their country, which has been devastated by war. One young man shared that he was hoping to find resources to continue attending law school, so that he could return to South Sudan to defend human rights.
Dr. Fancher noted that the seminar participants are incredibly capable and gracious men and women who are committed to serving others and asking God to use them to be instruments of healing and restoration in the lives of their fellow South Sudanese.
Dr. Karen Fancher is Professor of Global Studies/Global Development and Justice Studies at Multnomah University, and the President of Nehemiah’s Hope, a nonprofit organization providing training on community-based strategies to support those impacted by the trauma of war. Learn more about MU’s undergraduate global studies program here, and learn more about our MA in Global Development and Justice program here.