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Comments Posted 10.29.09 | PERMALINK | PRINT

Gallery

Renewal


Lindsay Stark

Ritual cleansing of child soldier, Sierra Leone, Africa

"Traditional healing ceremonies have been lauded as an effective and integral aspect of psychosocial healing and reintegration in Sierra Leone for girls associated with the fighting forces. Reintegration has proven extremely difficult for these girls. They were stigmatized by their families and communities who saw them as 'impure' as a result of sexual abuse. They have been verbally and physically attacked, restricted from mingling with family and community and prohibited from marrying. Their spiritual pollution is believed to cause misfortune, bad harvests and health problems. While empirical evidence leads us to believe that indigenous practice plays a fundamental role in the reconciliation process, how and why this is so is poorly understood. My research examined how traditional purification rituals contribute to psychosocial healing and reintegration." —Lindsay Stark, Senior Partner, The Columbia Group for Children in Adversity.
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