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Kunama

Scripture Engagement

Country

Ethiopia

Language(s)

 

Kunama

Speakers

200,000

Twice-displaced refugees, Eritrean Kunama people are desperate for healing from physical and emotional trauma. The comfort of mother-tongue Scripture is key to spiritual survival and hope.

Thank you! This project has been fully funded for the year!




the Need
Around 200,000 Kunama people lived historically as farmers and cattle herders in western Eritrea and northern Ethiopia. Decades of border conflict, suspicion, and a war during 1998 to 2000 caused the Kunama people to flee their homeland. This left 50,000 Eritrean Kunama people living in refugee camps in northern Ethiopia. Then, in November 2020, conflict erupted between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Ethiopian government’s forces. The Eritrean Army was implicated in the war. The conflict has severely affected the lives of Eritrean refugees in Tigray, forcing some to return to Eritrea. Other refugees undertook arduous journeys to more central regions in Ethiopia and Sudan. These refugees, now twice displaced, are suffering renewed emotional trauma and even physical injuries and violations.
The Project

To meet the needs of their people, Kunama project team members, who are being trained by our national partner in Ethiopia, have made the commitment to:


  • Develop and distribute the Kunama New Testament in audio and visual format.


  • Publish literacy materials in the Kunama language.


  • Conduct discipleship training and trauma healing sessions for children, women, men, and church leaders and train others.


  • Provide literacy classes for Kunama refugees.

Translation Progress

Drafted

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100

Community-Checked

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100

Quality-Checked

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100

A New Chapter of Healing
Years ago, Fana’s family had been caught in the conflict that engulfed her homeland. As they prepared to leave their home, soldiers with guns entered suddenly entered their home. They shot and killed one of her brothers. Her other brother escaped the scene. Fana and her mother fled together. Settling into a new home, Fana grieved the loss of her brothers. For years she questioned God, angry that He did not prevent these terrible things. Wary of religious persecution, she did not meet with other believers to share God’s Word or to work through her grief. Instead, she carried her own sadness and pain and attempted to comfort her mother without the support of Christian community. A peaceful season eventually allowed Fana and her mother to return to their home country. They were amazed to find her brother alive. Sadly, mental illness had crushed this previously clever, hard-working, and handsome man. Although Fana was happy they could be together again, she was torn by what the ordeal had done to him. Fana registered to participate in one of the trauma healing sessions offered for the Kunama community. Sitting in the trauma healing session, surrounded by other women with similar experiences, Fana was inspired by the story of a Pastor experiencing trauma, questioning his faith, but continuing to seek God for healing. “I felt like the Pastor in the story in the trauma healing book,” explains Fana. In the workshop, she and 35 other women from a refugee community shared their experiences. Hearing that other people had also experienced great trauma and questioned their faith, but still looked to God for restoration, gave Fana the strength to continue her own journey towards healing.
Important to God
A three-day trauma healing training took place for 15 children living in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. This camp is home to 22,000 Eritrean refugees and asylum seekers, and for these children, is the second refugee camp they have fled to due to erupting conflict. At such a young age these children have faced shocking violence, heavy loss and even persecution for their Christian faith. In the sessions, they learned how important they were to God, why bad things happened, and how to share how we feel, made through Scripture, art, and discussion. At one point the facilitators read a story from one of the stories that had been prepared for the session. The story was about two siblings living in a village surrounded by conflict who were separated in the conflict. As the facilitators were going over this story, they noticed that one of the children in the group seemed uncharacteristically quiet and withdrawn. After the session one of them asked him what was wrong, and he told them he had gone through what Sami from the story had experienced. Several children related to the story and were able to talk about their own experiences with each other, knowing they had gone through similar things. “We witnessed the healing process already starting in their lives,” said one of the facilitators.

"Though I initially attended the training for the healing of others, I realized that God had a plan for my life. He healed me first, and now I can extend that healing to others. I am grateful for this ministry and for God’s touch that changed my life."

- Kunama healing training participant

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