What about the children?

Forgotten participants for peacebuilding activities 

A woman was identified by her local community in Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia, as a survivor who needed trauma healing. Her husband was killed during a period of ethnic violence three years ago. In their two years of marriage, she bore one child.  

Today, she is one of the volunteers who helps other women affected by ethnic violence.  

The training and trauma-healing sessions helped her recover, she says. 

For the past two years, Meserete Kristos Church has been working with communities and local institutions to restore peace between warring ethnic groups in the Nono district of the West Shewa Zone of Oromia, Ethiopia.  

MKC facilitated different types of training, trauma healing sessions and community conversations in conflict-affected villages.  

A trauma healing volunteer and mother in Ethiopia asks “what about the children?”
A trauma healing volunteer and mother in Ethiopia asks “what about the children?”/MKC

The reconciliation process has been progressing well and the project is reaching its final stage.  

But what about the children? she asks: Could MKC help children affected by ethnic violence? 

Her three-year-old son asked her to buy him a gun. Every evening when they are alone in the house, he presents his request. 

She thought he wanted a plastic toy. But he told her that he wanted a real gun to kill the person who killed his father.  

She almost fainted. She did not imagine that her son was preparing himself for revenge at such tender age. 

Other children in the village told him that his father was killed by someone from the other ethnic group and that he should revenge when he grows up.  

“This is one of the needs of the community that we should address,” says Mekonnen Gemeda, peacebuilding director for Meserete Kristos Church. He was in the area to discuss the reconciliation process with the traditional elders and the local government authorities. “The sustainability of the peace we are trying to restore now depends on the type of children we are nurturing.” 

—This story is adapted from an article in MKC News #47, a monthly newsletter published by the Office of the President of MKC. Used with permission.  

About MWC national member church: Meserete Kristos Church (MKC) 

Meserete Kristos Church (MKC), one of the largest MWC member churches, had a membership of a little more than 5 000 when it went underground during the time of persecution in the Marxist military government in the 1980s. In 2020, baptized members numbered 370 909. The national church has regional Bible schools and a seminary; organized ministry in evangelism, prison outreach, development and more. 

Please pray for resources and training to offer trauma healing sessions that is tailored to the needs of children who have experienced losses due to ethnic violence.