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A journey to Recovery • Safer World Foundation

A Journey to Recovery:
Exploring the Power of Trauma Healing Psychosocial Support.


© Safer World Foundation/2022/Maiduguri

Meet Amina, a young woman who endured the horrors of violence and displacement in her hometown. She witnessed the destruction of her community, lost loved ones, and was forced to flee from her home, leaving behind everything she knew and held dear. Amina’s journey was filled with pain, fear, and uncertainty. This made Amina withdrawn and not excited about life.

However, while at the Bulumkutu rehabilitation camp managed by The Ministry of Women affairs and Social Development Amina’s path took a turn when she encountered a psychosocial first-aid support program by Safer World Foundation with support by Northeast Connection program funded by The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that offered her a lifeline. Through this program, Amina found a safe space where she could openly share her experiences, fears, and emotions. Among a group of fellow survivors and lay counsellors, she realized she was not alone in her suffering. The patience and compassion she received from the Lay counselors  and her

peers helped her break free from the isolation that had consumed her.

Through weeks of talk and expressive therapy provided during  the program, Amina discovered effective coping mechanisms to manage her trauma. Counselling and talk therapy allowed her to reframe negative thoughts and beliefs, empowering her to challenge the lingering emotional scars. Expressive therapy provided her with a creative outlet to express her emotions, allowing her to process her trauma in a tangible and healing way.

As the weeks passed in the camp, Amina gradually regained a sense of control over her life. She formed strong bonds with her fellow survivors, creating a support network that nurtured her resilience. Together, they shared their stories, hopes, and dreams, inspiring each other to move forward despite the adversities they faced.

“I never knew that just talking could be so refreshing and healing. I feel like I have a level of control over my life and what will happen to me from here.”

Beyond individual healing, Amina also participated in community dialogues facilitated by the program. These dialogues fostered reconciliation and understanding among community members affected by the violence. Through open, honest and constructive conversations, Amina and others began to rebuild trust, forging a path toward collective healing and social reintegration.

© Safer World Foundation/2022/Maiduguri

Amina presenting during a group training session in the camp

“These sessions have really helped me to understand myself, others and what everyone is passing through. I now understand that everyone is traumatized in one level or the other so I can better relate with people and I have learned to forgive myself and others. I have been able to understand people more, identify with them and offer help or assistance where I can and I realized that this could be even in the form of just listening to them.”

Today, Amina’s transformation is remarkable. She has gained the strength and resilience to pursue her dreams. With newfound confidence, she is determined to share her story from the program within her community, determined to help others on their journey to recovery.

Amina’s story is a testament to the power of trauma-healing and psychosocial support. It illustrates how a comprehensive approach, combining safe spaces, therapeutic interventions, community engagement, and empowerment, can transform lives shattered by trauma. Amina’s journey reminds us that healing is possible, even in the face of unimaginable suffering.

As we continue to invest in psychosocial first aid programs and strengthen mental health services, we give survivors like Amina the opportunity to reclaim their lives, rebuild their communities, and shape a future that is defined by resilience and hope.


The North East region of Nigeria has been marred by a long-standing history of violence, conflict, and insecurity, leading to widespread trauma and psychological distress among its inhabitants. The devastating impact of this violence on individuals and communities cannot be overstated. However, amidst the darkness, a glimmer of hope emerges through the power of trauma-healing psychosocial support. This article aims to shed light on the significance of this approach and its transformative potential in the context of North East Nigeria.

Understanding Trauma:

Trauma is an emotional response to an event or series of events that are deeply distressing or disturbing, often leaving individuals feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope. In the North East region, violence and conflict have created an environment where trauma has become pervasive, affecting the mental and emotional well-being of countless individuals.