Dispute over results of the 2007 Kenyan presidential election resulted in widespread demonstrations and ethnic violence. Tragically, over 300,000 people were displaced and as many as 12,000 Kenyans made their way into neighboring Uganda to find shelter in refugee camps.

One specific need among the refugee population was treatment for the psychological effects of trauma, and RMF was quick to get on the ground and assist, bringing acupuncture services to camps.

Recent studies suggest that acupuncture may be as effective as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for psychological conditions. “Acupuncture is a proven, easily transportable, and cost-effective healthcare tool,” says Megan Yarberry, RMF’s Team Whole Health Project Coordinator “We’re hoping to provide support and healing to hundreds of people each day.”

This last December RMF visited the Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement and found the acupuncture program thriving.

In fact, the community welcomed them with songs, poems, and dramas, many of these about the impact acupuncture had had on their lives. The common thread was that community issues such as domestic abuse, stress, and alcoholism were ameliorated with acupuncture treatments.

RMF volunteers Beth Cole and Megan Yarberry report that: “It was a bit surreal to watch these dramas unfold on the red dust of Africa, under a mango tree, surrounded by a community that had been through such hardship as these people. Our own trainees-cum-acupuncturists put on one of these dramas, including a NADA clinic using real needles & actual treatments.”

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