The Healing Mt. Elgon Project is a collaborative effort between the Amani People’s Theatre and Healing the Wounds of History to address the aftermath of violence in the Mt. Elgon region of Western Kenya. Through the use of intercultural conflict transformation, peace building, drama and expressive arts interventios, this project will provide trauma focused training to members of the theatre. In turn these tools will be replicated into community based healing projects, working with survivors, victims, and perpetrators, to be undertaken by the Amani Peoples Theatre. By using the arts, along with storytelling traditions, this project seeks to support the community in integrating complex feelings, healing deep wounds, and allowing new narratives to emerge.
The Mt. Elgon region, referred to locally as the, “Mountain of Terror”, has been struggling to build peace since the Ethnic War in 2007. During the war, hundreds of innocent civilians were killed, raped, and tortured as the militia and military fought. While in recent years the region has begun to build a tenuous stability, survivors, victims and perpetrators now live side by side in a community where unrest, post-traumatic stress, and deep cultural wounds still haunt the population.
The Amani People’s Theatre (APT) of Nairobi, Kenya, has been working with the people of Mt. Elgon to support their healing through conflict transformation and participatory theatre processes. After seeing the need for more trauma-specific tools to address the needs of their community, Maxwel Okuto, director of APT, invited Armand Volkas, founder and director of Healing the Wounds of History (HWH), to partner with them. Maxwel and Armand have since worked toward building a small team of skilled professionals from each of their respective organizations to raise funds and build a culturally relevant training to be shared with APT members in effort to support them as they continue to work with the community of Mt. Elgon.