Our aim is to build a just, participatory and sustainable society with a preferential option for the poor. ‘Holistic’ comes from the word “whole” and represents treating the whole person, not just the condition or symptom that is being presented. This involves the struggle against violence, empowerment of the oppressed and the marginalized with special emphasis on the rights and needs of women and children. We yearn to provide psycho-social counseling for those who are affected by war and who face crisis situations. Our services go to people irrespective of their religious affiliation, caste or creed. Many people need psycho-social counseling in order to facilitate their reintegration into ordinary social life. The Centre for Holistic Healing strives towards facilitating this in the society.
Our mission is to help the survivors of trauma to get healed. The process of being restored includes bodily wholeness, emotional well-being, mental-functioning and spiritual aliveness. Healing also refers to the process of reconciling broken human relationships and to the development of a just social and political order among people in Sri Lanka. Through the work of our centre we seek to bring healing and restoration to the affected communities.
In 1984, ‘Solidarity is Strength Palmyrah Project,’ originally started as a partnership between the Reformed Churches in Bern-Jura-Solothurn, Switzerland and the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India (JDCSI) with the purpose of helping women, especially the young war widows and drop-out female students from schools and to provide training in sewing, handicraft and stenography.
Eventually the need of the hour paved way to enlarge the vision and the Centre for Holistic Healing (CHH) came into being. We sincerely thank our partners of ‘Elisabethenwerk Swiss League of Catholic Women for their commitment to help the Centre for Holistic Healing in various ways in particular the trauma work and the counseling programmes. Our special thanks to ‘mive-Switzerland’ for their understanding of the dire need for a vehicle for such a wider range of social work for the welfare of the poor and the marginalized. Our gratitude to all the partners for joining hands with us in this noble ministry.
The Evolution of the Centre
The experience of social workers during the tsunami and amidst the bloody war, paved way to the vision of forming an established structure to help the survivors of the war.
At the end of the 30-years civil war the resulting hostilities can be best described as extreme trauma and a staggering feeling of hopelessness. The destruction that was caused to lives, livelihoods and livestock, and the devastation was total.
The Vanni area which is often described as the land of grains, milk and fruits, Vanni’s industriousness has been a traditional pride of the country and its productive capacity an example to the nation.
All these were wiped out with a senseless war in which the Vanni and its people were held in ransom, by the warring parties. Essentially the people of the Vanni paid a horrendous price for no fault of theirs.
We began our ministry in this region with great earnestness in 1979 with a holistic approach of the well being of the mind, body and soul towards creating the ideal citizen conscious of the spirit of brother/sisterhood with his/her fellow human beings and the good health of the environment.
In 1979 and the years following we hardly foresaw that this approach was going to be of immense help to seek the kind of succor and healing the people of the Vanni in particular would need once the war ended.
We were already active in several areas in the Vanni and even during the war especially at its last stages we had spontaneously moved to meet the challenge with the ideal of holistic healing.
Such being the war, its bitterness, hatred, anger, loss of lives and limbs, livelihoods and destruction of earthly possessions, what was needed were not bandages and needles but a whole lot much more that can only be approached from a holistic angle focused on the mind, spirit and soul and the physical well being.
In May 2009 when the war ended our mission was clear and our challenge though enormous to approach at first, our familiarity with the people helped us to share with them their pains, anguish and even more, their determination to rise again as people with pride. As planters, harvesters and the keepers of God’s bounty we are divinely obliged to preserve and protect for posterity.
Since the war we are working with people who have gone through horrendous nightmares, and I have often wondered how we can reconcile with such a situation. Our trauma continues and our challenges are met with new dimensions of concerns.
We ourselves have to address to all these issues and short-comings in the larger scenario of holistic healing in which the pivotal energy is sourced from the Grace of God.
In our own way despite the obstacles and challenges thrown on our path over the years, we have been performing the task of seeking solutions to the needs of the war-affected people of the thirty-year civil war.
We are confident that through the richness of the holistic healing process, the people of the Vanni will rise again, provided our work continues to be sustained by the Grace of God.