Latin American Communities: Renewing Hope after Trauma 

Our Roots in the Ruins Latin American staff is truly making a difference. These wonderful facilitators are fully trained and certified and can work independently in their own countries. Elena Huegel is certified as a master trainer in the program.

2018 end-of-year update

We have been able to help so many people, all over Latin America, because of your support. Our community trauma healing program has blossomed this year as a result of the great need in our targeted communities. Our program offers concrete tools and processes to help communities heal from trauma, especially communities without much access to counseling services. You are making a difference:

  • in Mexico, where people suffer the trauma of state violence, poverty and a recent, destructive earthquake; 

  • in Puerto Rico, where the Hurricane Maria has devastated the country, and the young people are leaving in droves, 

  • in Chile, with its high rate of family violence and sexual abuse, and 

  • in Nicaragua and Honduras, countries that suffer from deep poverty and civil unrest. 

In addition to providing workshops for over 1,000 people in these countries of Latin America, we are also training leaders, so they can teach and administer the trauma healing work themselves. 

In Puerto Rico, a spike of suicides and depression this past year has been reported by many national news sources. Because we have been teaching there for five years, we have been able to prepare eight people to become facilitators of our trauma healing program in March 2019. We are working with the Biblical Institute of the Christian Church in Puerto Rico to manage the trauma healing program after 2019. 

We are also involved with groups and institutions in Mexico and Chile to empower them to oversee this program themselves. We signed an agreement with Intercultural Institute of Studies and Research (INECINE), in Cristóbal de las Casas to be in charge of the program in southern Mexico. Four facilitators will complete their certification in 2019. 

Centro Shalom in the mountains of Chile has been active in offering trainings and preparing new facilitators. In addition to the ten facilitators who were the very first graduates of the course, eight new facilitators will be added this year. 

We are active in central Mexico, and in Nicaragua and Honduras. At the end of 2019, we will have about 35 new facilitators who will be able to teach all the courses in their respective countries.

Our ongoing role in these places will be to continue to assure that the highest standards of cutting edge trauma healing practices are maintained, and to gather representatives from every country and region every three years to offer new learnings and strengthen the network of practitioners.  

As you can see, you are making an enormous difference in the lives of people all over Latin America. Thank you for your support.

Intercultural Institute of Studies and Research, AC

  • 2 people have completed the facilitators course but missing two assignments to receive their certification

  • 2 people of the Institute have completed all courses, but lack the facilitators course and they hope to take this course in August 2019. 

Seminar of the Church of the Nazarene in Juchitan, Oaxaca

  • 1 person has completed the facilitators course but missing two assignments to receive their certification. 

  • 6-10 people completing the courses required to take the course facilitators in August 2019.

  • Upon completion of training in 2019, it is expected to Retoños in the ruins: hope in the trauma program will be part of the Seminary of the Church of the Nazarene in Mexico. 

Joint Board of Christian Churches, Disciples of Christ, Congregational in central Mexico. 

  • 1 person is being trained to be a trainer of facilitators 

  • 5 people have completed the facilitators course but missing two assignments to receive their certification. 

  • 50 people have received some of the 4 courses Level 1 and 2. 

Christian Church, Disciples of Christ of Puerto Rico. 

  • 6 to 8 people preparing to take the facilitators course in March 2019. 

  • Upon completion of training in 2019, it is expected to Retoños in the ruins: hope in the trauma program will be part of Bible school graduates of the Christian Church, Disciples of Christ in Puerto Rico. 

Pentecostal Church of Chile 

  • 3 people are being trained to be trainers of facilitators. 

  • 10 facilitators already formed 

  • 8 people preparing to take the facilitators course in May 2019. 

Central America 

  • 2 people have completed the facilitators course but missing two assignments to receive their certification. (Honduras and USA) 

  • 1 person preparing to take the facilitators course in August 2019 (Nicaragua) 

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2018 News

Here is the 2018 schedule of courses being offered throughout Latin America. See pictures and learn more about our work in Puerto Rico this year.

Read Elena Huegel's account of visiting a church in an earthquake-stricken village.

Here is a video (in Spanish) that describes the responses from a recent workshop in Puerto Rico, using the materials the Brookfield Institute created. Elena Huegel facilitated the workshop.

Read a 2017 update about Roots in the Ruins.

Front to back, left to right: Rev. Dr. Beverly Prestwood-Taylor, Brookfield Institute, Massachusetts, Alejandra Benitez (Nurse, Board member, Shalom Center, Chile), Acsa Luna (Nurse, Facilitator at the Shalom Center, Chile), Tatiana Ramos (Special education teacher, Facilitator at the Shalom Center, Chile), Mercedes Cadena (Literacy specialist, Congregational Church, Mazatlán, México), Carolina Santander (Agriculture Specialist, volunteer at the Shalom Center, Chile), Rebeca Toledo (Coordinator of Ministry for Children and Adolescents, Pentecostal Church of Chile, Chile), Carolina Ramos (Family Counselor, Pentecostal Church of Chile, Chile), Marta Espinoza (Elementary School Teacher, Shalom Center Facilitator, Shalom Center, Chile), Patricia Gómez (Director of the Shalom Center, Chile), Elena Huegel (Global Ministries Personnel), Rodrigo Martínez (Fair trade officer, Shalom Center Facilitator, Shalom Center, Chile), Juan Carlos Oñate (Electrical Engineer, President of the Shalom Center Board, Shalom Center, Chile

Front to back, left to right: Rev. Dr. Beverly Prestwood-Taylor, Brookfield Institute, Massachusetts, Alejandra Benitez (Nurse, Board member, Shalom Center, Chile), Acsa Luna (Nurse, Facilitator at the Shalom Center, Chile), Tatiana Ramos (Special education teacher, Facilitator at the Shalom Center, Chile), Mercedes Cadena (Literacy specialist, Congregational Church, Mazatlán, México), Carolina Santander (Agriculture Specialist, volunteer at the Shalom Center, Chile), Rebeca Toledo (Coordinator of Ministry for Children and Adolescents, Pentecostal Church of Chile, Chile), Carolina Ramos (Family Counselor, Pentecostal Church of Chile, Chile), Marta Espinoza (Elementary School Teacher, Shalom Center Facilitator, Shalom Center, Chile), Patricia Gómez (Director of the Shalom Center, Chile), Elena Huegel (Global Ministries Personnel), Rodrigo Martínez (Fair trade officer, Shalom Center Facilitator, Shalom Center, Chile), Juan Carlos Oñate (Electrical Engineer, President of the Shalom Center Board, Shalom Center, Chile

Retoños en la Ruinas Esperanza en Trauma

Most countries in Latin America have experienced crushing political dictatorships and civil wars fraught with torture, terror and death. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and hurricanes have exacerbated the trauma. In collaboration with Global Ministries of the Disciples of Christ and the United Church of Christ, the Brookfield Institute works with faith communities in five regions of Latin America to strengthen leaders and communities:  Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, Mexico and Puerto Rico. 

Community and church leaders receive five courses of training to equip them to help their communities deal with the social, spiritual, emotional and moral effects of trauma and conflict. Leaders who complete the entire training program are certified as facilitators, and are able to teach all the courses in their own countries.


The Journey to Resilience: How We Began

In 2010, collaborating with Centro Shalom, a peace and environmental education camp in Chile, The Brookfield Institute conducted a STAR (Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience) course to work with families of the disappeared and tortured.  

Three weeks after the first workshop, an earthquake registering 8.8 the third highest in 50 years, struck the central region of the country.  We expanded the course, and developed a series of courses to reach children, youth and adults in the affected area.  Over 500 adults, youth and children in central Chile received trauma healing support through our work.  [Include Pictures of the earthquake and of the workshops for healing]

In 2013, the work was expanded to include Mexico and Puerto Rico.  In 2014, we began the course work in Paraguay and Argentina.  Our goal is to empower the communities in each country to teach the curriculum themselves and to support them as they develop their own practice and curriculum in these areas. 

 
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