ICC Provides Trauma Counseling in Nigeria

02/03/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – Often, we encounter cases of persecution in which the wounds cut far deeper than surface level. In these circumstances, we strive to not only restore the survivor’s physical health, but also their mental and spiritual well-being. Parmata is one of these individuals.

Parmata was a 16-year-old student at a Government Secondary School in a primarily Muslim community in Nigeria. As a student, she lived in the school’s hostel. However, her life turned upside down in July 2017 when she suddenly went missing.

Eventually, it was discovered that the Dorm Matron was responsible for Parmata’s disappearance. She had conspired with a group of Muslim men to apprehend the teenage girl by drugging and kidnapping her. Once they hid her away, they forcefully converted her to Islam and established plans to marry her off to a Muslim man. All of this took place without the knowledge or consent of Parmata’s parents.

By the grace of God, Parmata was released through intense legal pressure. By the time she was set free, she had been held in captivity for roughly one month. By any standard, an experience like this would take a toll on one’s mental health, but especially for someone as young as sixteen.

Following her return home, Parmata’s family withdrew her from the school she was attending and enrolled her in a program that she could attend from home. However, they have struggled financially in order to provide her with the physical and psy­chological care that she needs in order to recover from this traumatic ordeal.

Our first step in providing Parmata with the care she needed was connecting her with a clinical psychologist. Parmata met with the psychologist on a twice weekly basis in order to express her emotions, process her trauma, and develop tools to work through difficult issues moving forward. She was also able to participate in group therapy, during which Parmata’s parents were present as well. The psychologist also recommended setting up follow-up appointments in the coming months to ensure that Parmata maintains her progress.

In addition to providing Parmata with these counseling sessions, we also sought to alle­viate the economic strain on the family by meeting some of her day-to-day needs. We provided her with new clothing as well as hygiene products.

Lastly, to continue lifting the financial burden, we equipped Parmata with a porta­ble commercial blender. During after-school hours, she will be able to use this to generate extra income for her family. Not only will this equipment provide extra income, but it will provide a launch pad for her to develop and expand her own small business in the future if she desires.

Unfortunately, cases in which we assist survivors from multiple angles are often born out of tragic circumstances. However, as we provide care, we have the special privilege of seeing them heal and move past the devastating events that knocked them down. It is our prayer that their stories will be a testimony to the resilience of those who place their trust in Christ.

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