Counselling and Therapy Services in Schools

One of UNM consistent interventions since its creation in 2002 has been educational support, providing sponsorship to vulnerable children in primary, secondary, vocational training and Colleges/Universities with school fees and other levies (including the cost of uniforms, books, and materials), career guidance, mentor-ship and psycho-social support.

A space for counselling

Counselling and Therapy Services are operational in all provinces with a little representation of 9 districts in 23 schools by UYISENGA NI IMANZI (UNM) in partnership with Rwanda Psychological Society, Parents committees and School leaders.

Session on positive parenting

A welcoming school is a school that understands the needs of a child and put all things in place to overcome the issues that might children encounter. To ensure children such a care, links between schools and parents are needed. The program is supported by Family For Every Child and Lessons For Life Foundation.

Psychologists and Teachers meet regularly for exchange

The experience proved that despite having their school fees paid for, many children are facing serious psychological, social, and economic barriers due to the lack of foster adult supervision and live in the communities and extended families often overburdened by social fragmentation and crippling poverty, making it difficult to care for them. We then realized that the success of the interventions might be based on the role played by the schools through the interaction between the teachers, children and groups of parents formed out of communities. This has resulted in pioneering efforts to pilot psychosocial support to children in 5 schools through working with their teachers and their communities, convinced that at school, as a place where students spend much time, a place where children are able to play with their peers, trust adults and envision a positive future.

UNM Executive Director during a training session

School Counselling within Education and Care is based on a philosophy where identification and cultural identity, peace and development, socialization and clear vision for the future are enhanced. It is guided by two questions:
1. “How can schools become a safe and an attractive environment for children’s education and care?”
2. “Can schools change a child’s life by shaping his / her future through reflecting positive images and avail a performance and expressions’ atmosphere?”

For that reason, we influence schools to offering to children a room to escape from physical harm and other dangers or abuse, psychological and social recovery. UNM has established a network for educational purpose, put in some place tools and space for creativity or recreation.

Teacher sensitization and training programs: to provide teachers with knowledge and skills to help children in their classrooms healing from psychological and social wounds. Children are welcomed, comforted and supported in a school that provide accompaniment services to them. Teachers in the program work closely with parents structures.

Session on positive parenting

Peer-to-peer dialogue: Sessions with professional counsellors in peer dialogues to build important life skills and share learning experiences. We also organize sessions of expressions through artistic playing a role of group counselling and debate mate.

School psychological cells: With schools management committees and children, these cells also set up schools punishment policy. In addition, they are providing counselling services to parents and students by a selected group of teachers who have been provided psychological knowledge and skills. It mainly emphasize on empathy, where parents and children are listened in non-judgmental way by teachers inside the school.

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