Joop van Wijk

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Piece of Mind| 40mins
Director: Hens van Rooy | Producer:
Focus Years: | Country: Netherlands
Subject Tags: community, conflict, education, europe, global, healing, netherlands, poverty
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
PIECE OF MIND is a film about the field training of an international group of relief workers from Asia, Africa and Europe given by American psychologist Nancy Baron in Uganda in October 2001. The participants, themselves victims of war and trauma, came from Tibet, Nepal, Algeria, Namibia, Burundi, Uganda, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and the Netherlands. Some are just housewives or social workers with little education while others are well-trained psychiatrists and psychotherapists. All are highly motivated to help, inspired by their own backgrounds and hope for the future. The film makes clear that motivation alone is not enough and that a higher formal education may indeed (even?) hamper the worker's efforts to help. Understanding of individual cultural beliefs on the part of both victims and helpers is essential in tackling the problems of people who have lost their homes, their families, their livelihoods and even their trust in life. The film shows group training sessions where participants are taught the skills they'll need once they are back in their own country. They are made aware of the realities of crowded refugee camps in the camps surrounding the Ugandan border town of Adjumani which are housing tens of thousands of Sudanese who have fled the civil war suffering from hunger, disease, madness and depression. In PIECE OF MIND, we learn about the stories of some of the heroes of our time. The sessions with Siva from Sri Lanka and Louise from Burundi; Fetsum from Eritrea, Sherin from Namibia and Peter from The Netherlands working among themselves and with the Sudanese refugees make clear that individuals must learn to help themselves but can do so better if aided by others who know how to care.

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