Khulumani Gauteng Local Branch Facilitators participate in a self-care workshop in Johannesburg, 10 – 12 September 2014 –

Khulumani Gauteng Local Branch Facilitators participate in a self-care workshop in Johannesburg, 10 – 12 September 2014

Eleven Khulumani local group facilitators were hosted at St Peter’s Lodge for 3 days of last week to participate in a self-care workshop, entitled Wrapped in Angels. The workshop was facilitated by Ms Merle Conyer, a South African who has lived in Australia for the past 30 years where she works with survivors of trauma in trauma-informed processes.

The workshop offered a process for the participants to reconnect with the sources of nourishment, hope, love and resilience in their lives through sharing their stories and through stitching images of the sources of their inspiration and courage onto a fleece blanket. The imagery behind each blanket and its personal meaning for each participant were then shared within the group with the blankets serving as a reminder of an experience of being loved, supported and nurtured. The workshop process was conceptualised by a colleague of Merle’s, Ms Mary Jo McVeigh, founding principal and CEO of Cara House, Centre for Resilience and Recovery in Sydney Australia (See and is informed by concepts of resilience-based practice, attachment enhancement and trauma recovery.

Merle shared her own sources of inspiration in the workshop including what she has learned about healing from her work with First Nation communities in Australia. This included Professor Helen Milroy’s writing on how Traditional Healers in Central Australia conceptualise healing. Here are extracts from the work of the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjar Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council, shared by Helen Milroy: “Healing is a part of life and continues through death and into life again. It occurs throughout a person’s life journey as well as across generations. It can be experienced in many different forms such as mending a wound or ecovery from illness. Mostly, however, it is about renewal. Leaving behind those things that have wounded and caused us pain. Moving forward in our journey with hope for the future, with renewed energy, strength and enthusiasm for life. Healing gives us back to ourselves… and ultimately gives us back to our country. To stand once again in our rightful place, eternal and generational. Healing is not just about recovering what has been lost or repairing what has been broken. It is about embracing our life force to create a new and vibrant fabric that keeps us grounded and connected. Healing keeps us strong and gentle at the same time. It gives us balance and harmony, a place of triumph and sanctuary for evermore.”

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