Practitioners

Practitioners who attend our program become innovators, able to design unique programs to address the specialized needs of diverse groups and individuals.  Moreover, practitioners are trained by the ITTP  to adapt their ideas and programs to people’s needs as situations change.  Thus, as methods of inflicting complex trauma become ever more sophisticated, so do our efforts to undo its effects.

Lourdes Joseph

Sr. Lourdes Joseph (Sri Lanka Tamil) – After returning to Sri Lanka upon completion of the program, she assumed the role of Director of KAROD, a rehabilitation center for the handicapped in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka.

Dr. Janaka Jayawickrama

Dr. Janaka Jayawickrama (Sri Lankan) – after returning to Sri Lanka upon completion of the program, he was employed by the Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne where he founded the MSc – Community Wellbeing in Disaster and Development. Trained at the Institute for Counselling, Psychotherapy and Human Relationships in India, International Trauma Treatment Program and Northumbria University, Janaka has now completed his PhD on community mental health and wellbeing of disaster and conflict affected communities under the supervision of Dr. Derek Summerfield and Dr. Andrew Collins.   

Since 1994, Janaka has been involved in policy and practice research and training in mental health, population movements, and women and children, traditional knowledge systems and community wellbeing. Janaka is particularly engaged in wellbeing in the sense of community processes and policy related to mental health. Through his work to date, Janaka has managed, coordinated and implemented research and field educational programs on the mental health and wellbeing of displaced and refugee communities in Western Darfur, Malawi, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Jordan in collaboration with United Nations High Comission Refugee Agency (UNHCR). He has presented his research in International conferences organized by the Institute of Psychiatry (2006), Royal Geographical Society (2008), University of London and Durham University (2010) among others. Janaka has published articles and book chapters with Global Health Watch, UNHCR, International Conflict Research Institute, the United Nations University and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Rev. George Wauchope

The Rev. George Wauchope – (South African residing in Zimbabwe). After returning to Zimbabwe upon completion of the program, he moved to Botswana to do rehabilitation work with refugees.

Mohammed Mukhaimar

Mr. Mohammed Mukhaimar (Gaza, Palestine) – After returning to Gaza upon completion of the program, he was promoted to assistant researcher at the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme. He is currently completing his Masters Degree in Psychological Research and Methodology at the University of Leicester, England.

Naima Rawaagh

Ms. Naima Rawaagh (Gaza, Palestine) – After returning to Gaza upon completion of the program, she was promoted to Director of the Women’s Empowerment Programme at the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme. She is currently completing her Master’s Degree in International Affairs at Brandeis University and working towards the development of a new organization, which will focus on protecting and supporting the women and families of women who suffer from physical, sexual, and psychological violence.

Tashi Youdon

Ms. Tashi Youdon (Tibetan residing in India) – After returning to India upon completion of the proram, she was promoted to Head Nurse at the Tibetan settlement hospital in Bylakuppe, India.

Phuntsok Tsering

Mr. Phuntsok Tsering (Tibetan residing in India) –  After returning to India upon completion of the program, he was promoted to Director of the counseling program at the Refugee Center in Dharamsala, India.

Suzan Akwii

Ms. Suzan Akwii (Uganda) – After returning to Uganda upon completion of the program, she was promoted to Director of Counseling at the residential school for refugee children in Soroti, run by Pilgrim, an NGO in Uganda that provides relief for refugees in the North of Uganda. 

David Calvin Echodu

Mr. Calvin Echodu (Uganda) – After returning to Uganda upon completion of the program, he assumed the duties of Director of Pilgrim, an NGO in Uganda that provides relief for refugees in the North of Uganda. 

My name is David Calvin Echodu. I was raised and presently reside in Uganda I am the Founder and Executive Director of Pilgrim Uganda, a multi-faceted not-for-profit organization serving the people most vulnerable in Still the CEO of Pilgrim, I have led Pilgrim into areas such as the relief, trauma counseling, and resettlement assistance of internally displaced Ugandans; extensive work in the area of community health and malaria eradication; and basic community development such as schools and education. In addition to the previous efforts, Pilgrim operates with a view towards the future of Uganda, and has conducted significant research and development of biodiesel and other sustainable rural technologies. Pilgrim was founded as an indigenous Christian response to the plight of more than 1.5 million refugees living in internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in the war torn regions of Northern Uganda From its inception as a small organization providing simple relief and psycho-social support to the desperate refugees, Pilgrim has grown to be an international organization with aid and development interventions in Relief, Medicine/Public Health, Trauma counseling, Education, and Agricultural Training/Resettlement.  Our long-term goal is to help African people move from extreme poverty to sustainable productivity.  For more please go to www.pilgrimafrica.org.  

Ennu Rita Adupo

Ms Rita Adupo (Uganda). After returning to Uganda upon completion of the program, she continued her work with Pilgrim, an NGO in Uganda that provides relief for refugees in the North of Uganda. 

“My name is Ennu Rita Adupo. I was born and raised here in Uganda, in the small town of Soroti. I live and work in Uganda, with Pilgrim Uganda. I trained as a social worker, but have had the opportunity to work in numerous fields. I work as a community mobilizer for the agriculture and environment program in Pilgrim, under which are a number of diverse projects. First, I worked on implementing the resettlement program of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) back home, food security, and trauma counseling, both for the children at school and the communities with various trauma. I also had the opportunity to implement an agriculture and environment project. With time, I am implementing a value addition project on agricultural produce called Multi Functional Platform.  This project is now preparing to  scale up because the pilot was a success. Last year I implemented a project on water and sanitation in rural areas called Bio Sand Water Filters.  I had the honor of working with public health in 2008. I am blessed to have had a training background in trauma and couselling which has played a big part in implementation of my projects. 

May God bless you.

Ennu Rita Adupo  

Osborne Omoding

Mr. Osborne Omoding (Uganda) – After returning to Uganda upon completion of the program, he assumed the duties of Program Director and staff counselor with Pilgrim, an NGO in Uganda that provides relief for refugees in the North of Uganda. 

Marcia Tappin-Boxhill

Ms. Marcia Tappin-Boxhill (Trinidad and Tobago) – After returning to Trinidad and Tobago upon completion of the program,  she took the lead in the trauma counseling division of the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Psychology (TTAP). She is now the President of TTAP.

Shanthiepan Sivarajah

Mr. Shanthiepan Sivarajah (Sri Lanka) – After returning to Sri Lanka upon completion of the program, he and his wife Heather, who is Canadian, moved to Ottowa, Canada to work with the YMCA in Ottawa and begin work on his Masters Degree.  Shanthi now lives in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. 

Ivana Vidakovic

Ms. Ivana Vidakovic (Serbia) – After returning to Serbia upon completion of the program, she resumed her work with the International Aid Network (IAN) in Belgrade.

Chester Clark

Mr. Chester Clark (Liberia) – Upon completion of the program, he returned to Sri Lanka, where he was working with UNHCR. After finishing his term there, he returned to Liberia, where he is working with a children’s program in Monrovia until Fall 2010, when he began work on his Master’s Degree at the University of Northumbria. 

Chester Clark is Liberian, a graduate of Zion University in Liberia and the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, and has over ten years experience working with traumatized people around the world. Chester spent the last three years working in Sri Lanka for the United Nations High Commission on Refugees. The following summary was provided by Chester and describes the work he is doing in Liberia now and how his skills and effectiveness were enhanced by the ITTP program. 

“Liberia is a country that emerged from 14 years of civil war and violent conflict in late 2003. This has drastically affected human development, depopulated rural areas, disrupted traditional systems, all but destroyed existing infrastructure and institutions, and resulted in death, displacement, economic collapse, and extreme poverty and deprivation. The breakdown of water and sanitary systems, widespread food insecurity, destruction of health and social services, and poverty have all contributed to the extreme vulnerability of the population. There are few protective factors against abuse of children in Liberia but many structural risk factors. These include extreme poverty, high unemployment and few income-earning opportunities, insecurity, endemic conflict-related mental health problems, and war affected vulnerable groups such as ex-combatant child soldiers and torture victims. Predatory and opportunistic crime, sexual and gender based violence, and the sex trade have flourished. It is estimated that around 50% of Liberian women have been raped at some point in their lives. Other substance related harms include teenage pregnancy and abortion, physical injuries and illnesses, malnutrition, family neglect and disruption, public disorder, undermining of community values, and corruption. 

It is against this background that the Children Relief Services (CRS) was formed immediately after the cessation of hostilities. CRS is a Liberian organization that opened two centers for abused and war affected youth in the greater Monrovia area. CRS continues to expand its programs, including providing vocational and counseling services for children and young adults, and opening two more safe houses so that now they are present in four of Liberia’s fifteen counties. Since I arrived back in Liberia in April of 2010, I immediately began volunteering my services to CRS to help them with training and capacity-building for their staff. I quickly realized that the counseling services provided by the staff were not adequate. Therefore, I submitted a proposal to the European Union to establish a Trauma Treatment Program incorporating lessons learned from ITTP and adapting them to the Liberian situation. The proposal was for $25,000, and a grant was awarded to facilitate training for staff at all four CRS Centers. The new grant will enable CRS to provide counseling, access to basic health services, and material assistance to another 800 children in three rural counties. We will also provide a secure space for vulnerable children to play and be safe. Thank you for the experience provided by ITTP.” 

Chester Clark

Sinthuja Perinparajah

Ms. Sinthuja Perinparajah is an animator at the Butterfly Peace Garden in SriLanka. Since 1996, the Butterfly Peace Garden has provided a sanctuary in the Batticaloa war zone. Recognized worldwide, it is a unique counseling and recreation center that provides psychological support to children traumatized by war. Most of the children who come to the center suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety.Many of these same children are missing limbs due to encounters with land mines. The counselors or animatorsʺ at the garden offer children emotional healing, ethnic reconciliation with other children, and peace probably for the first time in their young lives. Children are brought to the Butterfly Peace Garden each day from surrounding villages in groups that are mixed with respect to gender and ethnicity (e.g. children from Tamil and Muslim villages). A typical program cycle runs one day a week for nine months and involves activities drawn from a range of visual, dramatic and musical arts. Activities are conducted by adult animators skilled in one or more artistic discipline, who have in many cases experienced psychological wounds similar to those of the children who come to the Butterfly Peace Garden. The Butterfly Peace Garden has for several years served as a model for innovative and effective programs for war‐affected children, families and communities.

Damla Gürkan

Damla Gürkan is our visiting practitioner from Istanbul, Turkey. She received her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hacettepe University in Ankara, Turkey. Damla currently works as a psychologist at Mor Cati Women’s Shelter. This shelter is a refuge for victims of domestic violence; it was founded in the late 1980s, following the “Solidarity of Women Against Domestic Violence Campaign.” The organization strives to empower women and promote solidarity and independence. Mor Cati encourages women to live their lives fully, free from the fear instilled by their abusers. 

Damla provides psychological support for these victims, allowing them to express their emotional turmoil and trauma. Mor Cati states, “Professionals working in this field need to understand that women neither provoke violence nor deserve it.” Through her passion for these women and children that have been verbally, psychologically and physically abused, Damla has been able to help countless individuals. In addition to working for the Mor Cati Women’s Shelter, Damla has training and experience in psychodrama, art therapy, cognitive [behavioral] therapy, play therapy, and psychoanalytical therapy. Damla’s interests include biking, swimming, scuba diving, puppet theatre, percussion, learning about folk tales, and listening to jazz music. 

Ayman Nijim

Ayman Nijim is our visiting practitioner from Gaza City, Palestine. Ayman received his Bachelor of Translation degree from Al-Mustansiriyah University in Iraq in 2005. He currently works as a Program Coordinator for Afaq Jadeeda Association, located in Nousairat in the Gaza Strip. 

 Ayman created and supervises “Let Them Play and Heal,” a program providing psychosocial support for children through drama, song, laughter, and dance. He additionally manages women’s classes for traumatized children (in conjunction with other organizations). 

Ayman helps obtain funding through grants for four diverse programs, including water filtration systems, children’s trauma treatment, emergency financial relief for refugees, and scholarships for orphans. He coordinates with international visitors, providing research and training sessions with local participants. He further organizes recreational activities between multiple schools and organizations, allowing constructive competition and a safe environment for these children. Ayman seeks to expand the program’s capacities and obtain a more comprehensive and multicultural understanding of trauma on the human psyche. In his spare time, he enjoys spending the day with his wife Samah, daughter Malak, and son Kareem. He is also an avid reader.

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