Trauma center assists women overcoming nightmares in Nigeria

By November 27, 2023

Nigeria (MNN) — Between abuse, assault, kidnapping, and arranged child marriages, some women in Nigeria live in nightmarish situations. What if they had another option?

That’s exactly what Voice Of The Martyrs Canada wants to provide with its trauma center. Currently, 230 women and 28 children are staying at the center, with room for at least 50 more.

“Some of them have come from situations where they were kidnapped from the Boko Haram or Fulani herdsmen who are also very radical,” says Greg Musselman of Voice Of The Martyrs Canada. “But many of them, they were born into Muslim families and made a decision to follow Jesus, and then the persecution really intensified. It’s a variety of different situations.”

The trauma center provides basic needs and support for women coming out of crisis. There’s a small on-site hospital providing free medical care. The center feeds and clothes the women. Their children can attend a school. Most helpfully, they can choose to receive vocational training, learn to sew, make shoes, or master computer skills. Musselman says there are more than 20 different vocations from which to choose.

Without these supports, many of these women won’t get the chance to explore future options. In some parts of Nigeria, women aren’t allowed to receive education. Instead they’re forced to rely on men – sometimes abusive men – to support them

But it’s about more than just equipping women to deal with the practical challenges of being a woman in Nigeria; it’s about helping them recover from life-altering trauma. “They get to be with other girls [who] are traumatized by all they’ve had to go through,” Musselman says. “They’ve been forced into these marriages. They’ve been sexually assaulted. They have children. There’s just so much going on.”

Most women stay in the program for between two and three years. It depends on the situation; for many women, “they’ve got a long way to go in terms of getting through many of the emotional, physical, and even spiritual trauma that they’ve gone through.”

When they’ve graduated from the program, specialists from the trauma center meet with them to determine whether it’s safe for these women to go back to their home communities. After they’ve graduated, the center will continue to stay in contact and maintain a relationship. Sometimes, that means helping equip them to share the Gospel in their predominantly-Muslim home communities.

And the most important thing these women will take away is a relationship with Jesus. “We know that there’s going to be some setbacks along the way, but [we’ll] continue to be there and to help them grow in their faith in Jesus.”

Support the work of Voice Of The Martyrs Canada here.



Header image courtesy of Voice of the Martyrs Canada.

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