Our CATT (Children's Accellerated Trauma Therapy) team in Uganda is very diverse. The counsellor pictured (right) is Aziku Augustus, he is also In-charge of Kerwa Health Centre III, a government healthcare facility. He decided to create a room in his facility to treat children and young people who qualify for CATT therapy.
Ms. J, pictured right, is a 14yrs old school drop-out and young expectant mother. She lost both parents in the civil war and is carrying the baby of an unknown father after being raped by two men on her way to school.
She is also thankful to the CRESS funded clinic in Mijale for offering ultrasound scan of her free of charge.
Pictured is Augustus’s fourth session with Ms. J – he asks CRIES-8 questions to know whether there has been a reduction in the CRIES-8 score following the previous therapy.
After Augustus applied his skills and knowledge of CATT in their first session, Ms. J was able to tell him exactly what happened to her, after keeping the secret for so long, and she is happy for us to share her story so we can raise awareness and others can be helped.
"I lost both parent during the deadly fighting in Khorijo IDP in 2019 when I was still 10yrs old and up to now I don’t know where the remains of their dead bodies are lying. My parents were so caring and they promised me quality education because I was their only child. After their death, I became hopeless because all the my uncles have negative attitudes towards the girl child education. I was enrolled in primary 4 in Mijale primary school by my Aunt and since then, I have been on top of the class and my Aunt loved me for that. I stay in a small remote village called Kilaji – each day I have to walk a distance of 4kms to and from school. Because I was determined to become a health worker, I didn’t regret the long distances."
"I remembered so well my dark day, a Friday morning when we were about to sit for our end of term examination. That day I woke up and prepared everything ready and left for school using my tiny busy road, as was my daily routine. As I was crossing the usual stream, I smell someone smoking cigarette, but didn’t care and continue with my journey, only to see a strange looking young man blocking me the road while smoking. I immediately turned running backwards just to see another man also blocking the road for me. I started screaming for a help but no one came to help."
"I started running for my life but unfortunately, I fell down and these two men raped and defiled me after fixing their dirty clothes in to my mouth to the extent I lost consciousness. After gaining consciousness, I became ashamed and thought of hanging myself. I didn’t tell anyone what happened but was going through a lot of lower abdominal pain which later stopped on its own."
"Two months later, I couldn’t see my menstrual period and started experiencing changes in my body and told my Aunt who immediately brought me to Kerwa H/C III where we got Aziku who requested for a pregnancy test and the result came positive. I immediately collapsed and didn't know what happened afterwards only to see cannula on my hand the following morning. My Aunt tried asking me of what exactly happened but I refused to tell her anything. On completion of the medications, we were discharged home."
"While at home, I refused to go to school and didn’t sit my exams. I always had suicidal ideas. I developed serious fear for the male gender. I would stay in isolation and later ran away from my Aunt’s home to stay with another relative who later brought me to Aziku after probably knowing that he works with children having psychological problems. My first session with Aziku was nothing but a room full of my tears."
Initial CRIES-8 Score was 40 but after 9 intensive different CATT sessions with Aziku Augustus, Ms. J's CRIES-8 reduced markedly to 0 and this what she says:
‘’Thank you very much Augustus for taking the whole of your time and energy in restoring lost hope in me even when I became a laughing object in my village/school and also refusing my initial thought of aborting my unborn fetus, as you said I can still go back to school after delivery. I cannot as well forget the staffs of Jehovah Rapha clinic – Mijale for accepting to scan my unborn baby free of charge’’