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Congolese refugees in Uganda catalyst for African PTSD Relief Project
by Global Good News staff writer
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27 April 2013
The African PTSD Relief Project has the far-reaching goal of helping the millions of Africans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The project is quickly picking up momentum after initial research showed that refugees who learned Transcendental Meditation (TM) found dramatic relief from their PTSD symptoms.
According to the David Lynch Foundation, which is helping to fund the project, over the next year plans are to provide the TM technique to 5,000-10,000 refugees suffering from PTSD, and rapidly scale up over the subsequent years.
'The Project will work with top humanitarian organizations and NGOs to empower the victims of decades of war in Africa. When people can overcome traumatic stress and overwhelming suffering in their lives, they experience a rapid rise in health, happiness, and success.'
How did the African PTSD Relief Project get started?
David Shapiro, founding director and president of the project, had been working with Transcendental Meditation teachers in Uganda who brought to his attention the nearly 70,000 Congolese refugees living near Kampala, Uganda.
Mr Shapiro knew, through years of teaching Transcendental Meditation, that the technique could help groups suffering from high levels of stress. 'I realized that this group of refugees from the Congolese wars and conflicts likely had a high incidence of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,' Mr Shapiro said. 'So I thought why not propose a PTSD research study to test how TM reduces PTSD in these refugees?'
In a stroke of good fortune, Mr Shapiro explained, three newly certified Transcendental Meditation teachers had just returned to Uganda and were available to help out on the study. In addition, the teachers were able to speak the languages of the Congolese refugees (distinct from the languages spoken in Uganda).
'We needed not only teachers, but also good translators,' Mr Shapiro said. The new Transcendental Meditation teachers fulfilled both requirements.
Global Good News will continue to report on the African PTSD Relief Project.
See related articles:
∙ Transcendental Meditation significantly reduces posttraumatic stress in African refugees
∙ Africa: Transcendental Meditation helps treat war victims suffering from PTSD
Copyright © 2013 Global Good News Service
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