In answer to needs seen throughout the region of Beni, in North Kivu, people representing various sectors of the town of Beni came to witness the launching of Bethesda Counseling Center.
Approximately 125 people were present on Friday, October 7, 2016, to witness the start of UCBC’s Bethesda Counseling Center in Beni. Not only were Beni government officials and UCBC staff present, but also representatives from the two largest local hospitals, universities, churches, schools, local mental health services, individuals from neighboring towns, and the local media.
In addition, individuals who have already received services since the beginning of 2016 attended as well. It was encouraging to see their support of Bethesda Counseling Center, especially since they worked with us and our small team before this inauguration.
During the launching ceremony, director Noé Kasali shared about the vision and mission of Bethesda Counseling Center. He informed the attendees of all of the services that have been offered since the beginning of the year. In early 2016, we started providing various counseling services to individuals suffering from psychosomatic issues referred by local hospitals and traumatized children through play therapy. Specific churches that had been directly impacted by the violence in the area since 2014 were provided with trauma-grief share ministry. During this time there were several attacks in the area. In coordination with local schools, churches, hospital, and government leaders, two immediate trauma debriefings were held with targeted communities in Beni and Oicha.
“Let’s share to lessen our pain.”
UCBC’s Theology Department Coordinator, Katsongo Kamate shared about the importance of Bethesda Counseling Center for Theology and Counseling students. What has been part of the core of UCBC’s vision is to respond to the needs of the community by proving solutions to problems the society is facing. Therefore launching Bethesda Counseling Center is a huge step in providing trauma and grief services that will bring hope, healing, and restoration for the wounded community of Beni.
Why is this important right now? Why do we believe launching a counseling center is necessary?
Since 2014 hundreds of people have been killed in Beni town and territory. The situation is alarming for many reasons, the number of widows and orphans has dramatically increased in Beni; and according to local doctors, hospitals have observed a significant jump in the number of individuals suffering from psychosomatic problems such as: blood pressure issues, stomach aches, back pain, headaches, sleeplessness, and depression. Families have fled their homes and lost fathers, mothers, children, and access to sources of income to sustain themselves.
“We are proud of the work UCBC is doing in Beni and in our country, because UCBC strives to bring solutions to the problems people are facing.”
Local NGOs provide assistance to people by providing needed food and shelter, but so often the inner wounds and losses are dismissed. Therefore we are grateful that in this time, Bethesda Counseling Center is able to offer counseling services, without cost, to the children and adults in and around Beni.
After the launching ceremony, the office of the Mayor stated, “We are proud of the work UCBC is doing in Beni and in our country, because UCBC strives to bring solutions to the problems people are facing.”
Another individual shared with us, “This Center has come at the right moment! Everyone in Beni has trauma and the trauma radio broadcasting you plan to have will reach out to the entire population.”
Therefore we are excited that the CI-UCBC Bethesda Counseling Center is officially open, for the glory of God, and the healing and restoration of people in the area of Beni.