The SHUMAS Rehab Unit at Mile 6 Nkwen, has undergone an major transformation in the past months. For many years it provided training in skills from tailoring to hairdressing, shoe-making to basket weaving for disabled adults who were otherwise unable to earn a living and live independently. It was hugely successful and we were proud to fund the construction of a residential block for these trainees back in 2012.
Unfortunately, the outbreak of the violent political crisis in 2016, forced the Rehab Centre to close, along with all schools and training facilities in the NW and SW regions. Whilst many schools are now gradually re-opening, there is a huge number of children who have completely missed out on education in the intervening years, many of whom have also been severely traumatised by the war. SHUMAS has responded to these new societal needs, and has adapted part of the workshop into a training school where teenagers and young adults learn sustainable organic farming techniques and are helped to set up small farms of their own on completion of the course, where they can grow foodstuffs both to feed their families and to sell at market. The other part of the old workshop is now used as a ‘Safe Space’ and a counselling unit for women and girls who have experienced extreme stress because of the war and the continuing insecurity. Most of these women have suffered GBV (Gender Based Violence) which is a common weapon of war: many are war widows, others are teenage single mothers who have been raped or have been forced to turn to prostitution in order to survive.
Students learning organic farming skills
The dormitory accommodation has now been transformed into a Safe Shelter for those GBV survivors and victims who have nowhere to sleep and no means of making a living. Whilst living in the Safe Shelter they take a course in small business management and are given start up materials to get their businesses underway and are helped to find a new home.
SHUMAS Safe Shelter