South Sudan, Africa

SUD05 - Trauma counselling training for South Sudanese refugees

Partnership Ref.:



Thomas & Joyce Lubari



Funding Status:

No Current Donor

Partnership Type:

Humanitarian, Training / Education

Funding Size:

$0 - $2,999

Annual Budget:

US$ 0

Connected To:

SUD01 , UGA04a , UGA04b , UGA04c

South Sudan

Population: 38.6 million

Life Expectancy: 58.6 years

GDP: US$810 per capita

Unemployed: 18.7%

unknown% earn less than US$2/day

Current Partnership Impact

30 families are being assisted

30 refugees and internally displaced people assisted

Partnership Overview

tough place to liveSouth Sudan has been gripped by civil war almost continually since it achieved nationhood in 2013. Hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of refugees have fled to neighbouring countries, including Uganda. Uganda now hosts some of the largest refugee camps in the world (near Yumbe and Koboko in the north) and the numbers of refugees grows daily. 

There is no end to this war and these refugees have experienced horrific situations that have wounded them physically, psychologically and emotionally. They have lost their homes and livelihoods along with their identity and self-worth due to the effects of the war on their lives, their parents, relatives, and siblings.

much needed waterThis has caused traumatic wounds that need healing through the use of biblical pastoral care and counselling to create hope and give healing to wounded people who struggle to forget the dreadful experience of the inhuman and barbaric treatment that was inflicted on them. The pastors working amongst these displaced refugees, who are themselves refugees and have also been traumatised (see Pastor Batali's story in the first report), urgently need trauma training and counselling using biblical principles to assist them, and also so that they can take these back to their people to build hope and help heal the emotional wounds and scars.   

History of Partnership

Bright Hope World has been partnering with Thomas Lubari and his wife Joyce Gaba, who are both Sudanese refugees and who now live in Jinja, Uganda, since 2007. Thomas and Joyce lead a church in Njeru, a very poor area of Jinja which also has a number of refugees. Despite this, and overseeing a micro-enterprise loan programme (UGA04b), a very successful vocational training programme for both Ugandans and South Sudanese (UGA04c), and running Foundations for Farming training courses in various locations around Uganda (UGA08), Thomas has always maintained a real love for his homeland and the Sudanese people. He travels back there as he is able, but travel in South Sudan is extremely dangerous as present (2024). 

tough place to liveIn October 2016 BHW's Field Director visited two of the resettlement camps in north Uganda and saw first-hand the plight of the people there. Following this visit, Thomas expressed a desire to gather some church leaders (pastors who are recent refugees) together for a few days to give them trauma counselling and empower them to help their people. Funding for this project commenced in December 2016.  


The primary beneficiaries are the church leaders/pastors from South Sudan who will receive the trauma counselling training and encouragement from Thomas and Joyce. However, this training will have a flow-on effect to hundreds, if not thousands, of other refugees who are counselled by these pastors.  

What We Like About The Partnership

There are huge and urgent needs amongst a desperate group of people who have been severely traumatized by the horrific things they have experienced. 

As a Sudanese refugee himself, who has known considerable trauma and loss in his own life, Thomas is an ideal person to be able to minister to these people and has a real love and concern for the South Sudanese people. 


Key People

Leadership Profile

love Sudanese people Thomas and Joyce Lubari are both refugees from Sudan and have been living in Uganda since fleeing the war in Sudan in 1990 (this was an earlier civil way before South Sudan became an independent country in 2013). They had five children of their own, although one is now sadly deceased. They also often have other children in their home who they care for. They initially planted a church in the west Nile town of Koboko which borders South Sudan and the DCR. However, rebel insurgency hit Koboko and they fled to Jinja where they planted the church in the Njeru slum in February 1996. They continue to lead this local church in Jinja, but their hearts are in South Sudan and with the refugees.

Thomas has a background in agriculture and theology, has a master's in development and has recently received his PhD. He has also had training in trauma counselling. Joyce is trained in accounting and currently works in the administration department of a Bible School. 


Vision And Annual Strategy

victim of warThe vision is to provide refugee pastors with training and provision of integrated counselling beyond the level of words only but also to meet their needs in a more practical way (theo-bio-psycho-social counselling). This will enable them to develop a sense of self-worth, receive healing and be able to minister hope to the refugees at an individual level, enabling their recovery from post-war effects. This is also now largely tied into livelihood development (Foundations for Farming training) as a means of developing hope and resilience for these traumatised communities in the camps. 

1) To equip pastors with pastoral care and counselling abilities to be able to respond and provide spiritual, physical, psychological and social care to the traumatized refugees so as to gain a sense of hope, acceptance and identity.    

tough place to live2) To regularly run inspired hope building workshops/conferences built around the bringing of healing to the traumatized due to the fact that all refugees are traumatized in one way or another. 

The project will seek to train pastors representing different refugee communities and camps in Uganda. Thomas and Joyce will get these church leaders together in a place away from the resettlement camps and spend several days helping and encouraging them. The pastors themselves need strategies for their own personal trauma resilience and healing. 

The pastors/trainees will in turn reach out to the refugee communities through locally organized seminars addressing trauma and healing. They work with local community leaders to identify victims of trauma who manifest symptoms of trauma and give them the necessary counsel. Trainers/counsellors will be provided with training materials including a bible each.