From Group Member to Peer Facilitator: Nusura

 In Stories from the Field

Photo Caption: Nusura with members of her therapy groups and StrongMinds staff

Nusura is a 41 year-old mother of five children, she lives in Naguru Village, in Uganda’s Kampala district.

For Nusura, life has not been easy. Her family has been plagued by economic hardship after her husband’s employment ended in northern Uganda four years ago. The loss of income, collapse of her own small business, and inability to pay bank loans and her children’s school fees had a devastating impact on her family. When she was imprisoned for not paying back a loan she had taken out to pay those school fees, she contemplated suicide. Her connection with StrongMinds and enrollment into a local Talk Therapy Group has dramatically changed her outlook.

“We shared our challenges. I learned a lot from the lived experiences of others. This quickened my healing,” she reports. Nusura played an active role in solution-finding for other women in her group as well as mobilizing and encouraging them to attend the weekly therapy sessions: “I realized I could help treat my fellow women going through several challenges like mine.”

In March 2017, Nusura embraced an opportunity to train as a Peer Facilitator so that she could run her own Peer Therapy Groups in her community. After completing a modified training program in Group Interpersonal Psychotherapy led by StrongMinds, she went on to form two groups of her own, each with six participants. Nusura recounts their stories of recovery with a deep satisfaction.

She describes one participant’s struggle with alcohol following many issues with her husband and children. Therapy allowed her to garner support from her peers, better understand her relationships and stop drinking. Nasura speaks of the “lost hope and interest in those that first join the group. Their inability to eat meals or sleep.” At the end of the formal Peer Therapy Group sessions, these same women report a “great change in their lives.”

Nasura’s life is not without ongoing challenges, but she credits her Peer Facilitator role as imparting her with new knowledge and skills, that in turn, have now helped a dozen women, “psychologically, socially and economically, while broadening their social networks and sense of community.” She relishes her role as a Peer Facilitator and looks forward to continuing her service to the community.

 

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