mission

     ABOUT US  
     
     Background
   
      Second Chance Africa is a small non-profit organization with a big vision. Initially founded as a grassroots project at a refugee camp in Ghana and later relocated to Liberia, between 2008-2014 our team focused on the mission to deliver free mental health services to African communities impacted by war. Over the years, in partnership with local Ministries of Health and Justice, we assisted more than seven thousand traumatized and at-risk direct beneficiaries - children and adults, male and female, across rural and urban settings, including schools, orphanages, marginalized communities, and a prison center. We utilized several evidence-based clinical approaches and learned tremendously about what works best (and what does not) cross-culturally. We adapted existing techniques, combined them uniquely, and delivered multiple programs to address the overwhelming need for direct services in a challenging post-war environment.

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    Since the recent Ebola endemic in West Africa, without sufficient resources to operate, we took the opportunity to close doors to re-evaluate our mission, lessons learned, and brainstorm a new operational model to catalyse change in a larger context.

    Some of the biggest challenges we observed in the field of psychosocial humanitarian relief include the shortage of qualified mental health workers; implementation of newly drafted mental health bills and policies, mental health stigma; and the lack of reliable scientific treatment studies in cross-cultural, post-emergency settings, among others. While major institutions, government and well-established non-profits are increasingly addressing the very needed challenge of capacity building, stigma reduction, and policy implementation, only a small minority engages in strengthening the evidence base for mental health interventions for trauma and related comorbid conditions to promote more efficient models in humanitarian crises. Such lack makes it significantly difficult for those in the frontline to make informed decisions in regards to treatment choice for impacted communities.

   A New Vision

   As of 2015, we began working to advance the field by designing innovative solutions that incorporate technology, and facilitating rigorous qualitative research to examine short-termed, scalable and effective interventions across the continent. Our new projects and research proposals, currently in early implementation stages, include developing and testing a new mHealth App, proof of concept and randomized research trials, some of which also incorporate neurophysiology, brain imaging and biofeedback for improving diagnostic accuracy and objectively measuring treatment efficacy.

 TARGET AREAS  

  We currently operate in West Africa and aim to expand to
central and east regions by 2020. 

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Category 1 and 2 projects 
While we are eager to engage in all modalities of treatment research that show promising potential in Africa, our organisation does not endorse treatment methodologies or clinical tools (ours or existing) that do not achieve significant evidence base. We are committed to transparency and unbiased research and reporting via peer-reviewed publications.

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     We call it the silent war. The lonely mind battle that begins when conflict ends and the dust of war rises. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating condition that shatters one's ability to function in society.

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   The United Nations High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR) recently reported a staggering estimate of 59.5 million refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) fleeing from war worldwide - the highest number documented in history. The number of people of concern that remains in the West, East and Horn of Africa regions is reported at 14.9 million. 
    
While refugees that are settled in developing countries may have greater likelihood of receiving mental health services at some stage in their lives, access to psychological treatment in Africa remains precarious. 
 

Source: telegraph.co.uk

Source: telegraph.co.uk

Sources:
United Nations High Commission of Refugees – UNHCR (2013). UNHCR Global Appeal 2015. 

United Nations High Commission of Refugees (2004). World at War: UNHCR Global Trends. 2014 Year in Review. 
de Jong, J. T., Komproe, I. H., Van Ommeren, M., El Masri, M., Araya, M., Khaled, N., et al. (2001). Lifetime events and posttraumatic stress disorder in 4 postconflict settings. JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, 286, 555562. doi:10.1001/ jama.286.5.555.  
Galea S., Rockers P.C., Saydee G., Macauley R., Varpilah S.T., Kruk M.E. (2010). Persistent psychopathology in the wake of civil war: long-term posttraumatic stress disorder in Nimba County, Liberia. Am J Public Health; 100:1745-51. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.179697
Johnson K, Asher J, Rosborough S, et al. (2008). Association of combatant status and sexual violence with health and mental health outcomes in postconflict Liberia. JAMA; 300(6):676–690.
Roberts B, Ocaka KF, Browne J, et al. (2008). Factors associated with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression amongst internally displaced persons in northern Uganda. BMC Psychiatry. 2008;8:38.

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Years of operation: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.
Target Beneficiaries: Former child soldiers (war affected youth), Ex-combatants, and women suffering from ongoing sexual violence.
Program Format: Weekly literacy classes and group intervention. The curriculum was designed to reduce symptoms of trauma, depression, addiction, somatization, aggression, building support systems and integrating individuals back in society. 
Target Areas: 2 impoverished communities in Liberia: Logan Town and West Point.
Impact: 715 direct beneficiaries - 675 males, 40 females. Age range: 18-45. 65% of participants presented significant PTSD symptom improvement. 42% also presented significant life changes - measured by employment rates and voluntary relocation from ghetto areas where drug use, organised crime and abuse were predominant activities.

Years of operation:  2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.
Location: Buduburam Camp in Ghana; Monrovia; Redemption Hospital, Liberia.
Target Beneficiaries: Lay workers, caregivers, nurses, doctors and medical assistants.
Program Format: Workshops to promote mental health of health professionals, address vicarious trauma, burn out, and somatization of PTSD symptomatology in patients. 
Impact: 388 direct beneficiaries - Male: 126, Female 262. Age range: 20-55.

 

 

Years of operation: 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013.
Target Beneficiaries: 
Children at risk for intergenerational trauma. Parents, teachers and caregivers with PTSD.

Program Format: Workshops on trauma, abuse and parenting skills for adults. Therapeutic games for children to build resilience.

Impact: 1920 direct beneficiaries - 
1850 children (M 895, F 955) Age range: 2-17. 70
Caregivers, age range: 20-65.
Trained caregivers demonstrated advanced knowledge on intergenerational trauma, the impact of abuse on children, and willingness to stop/ help prevent violence against kids. Reported child abuse and violence rates have dropped 100% during our program.

Years of operation:  2009, 2010, 2011, 2012.
Location: Monrovia Central Prison, Liberia.
Target Beneficiaries: Male and female inmates, adult and juvenile at the Monrovia Central Prison displaying symptoms of PTSD.
Program Format: Weekly support groups designed to reduce symptoms of trauma, depression, addiction, somatization, aggression, building support systems and integrating individuals back in society.
Impact: 680 direct beneficiaries - 520 males, 160 females. Age range: 16-63. The Liberian Ministry of Justice reported lower levels of rebellion in the prison during the years Second Chance programs were provided. It was also constantly reported that inmates request the Second Chance program over any other psychosocial project offered.

Years of operation: 2008, 2009.
Target Beneficiaries: Liberian refugees.
Program Format: Daily trauma workshops aimed at psychoeducation and reducing symptomatology.
Impact: 3,334 direct beneficiaries - 1214 males, 2120 females, Age range: 16-82.

TESTIMONIES

  “Before the war, I graduated from high school and a professional training in airline ticketing and reservations. I also had good taste in fashion design and was an excellent seamstress. I worked at a travel agency as a supervisor while attending university, but in my second year I couldn’t continue because of the civil war in my country. During the war I was kidnapped and taken very far away by rebels where I spent some years of hardship. I was violently abused all of the time.  I was helpless, lonely and emptied inside. I was always ready to die because of what I was going through. Then one day a miracle happened: I escaped. But the grief, shattered spirit and fear remained inside of me. I was always silent. It was a blessing that one day I participated in counseling sessions at SCA to heal my trauma. I was transformed from being a victim to becoming a more meaningful person”. - V.G.

“I really wanted to write you in the second week that you left, but I really wanted to see if the transformation that took place my life was something real or magical. I am convinced that it was something real that took place in my life. I want to be grateful to God who directed you in Ghana to the Liberian Refugee. I am grateful that I ever met you. There’s no more nightmares, bad dreams running every night for safety. I can see myself as somebody still useful in life. I believed that there is hope for the future me. I know that with your traumatic therapy treatment you can heal anybody who have been living with trauma for twenty to fifty years. I am saying this because of what took place in my life. I have been living with trauma for the past sixteen years and for you to make me overcome my trauma in less than a month it is something I can’t still believe. However, I am bit sad because there are many Liberians who are going back home still traumatized. UNHCR have been doing well for REFUGEE all over the world but we need more trauma counselors to help these people going back home. Many Liberians do not want to go back home but they do not have any choice. For now there is no more resettlement program for Liberians refugee by UNHCR, therefore they have go back home. It is my prayer that you will be able to get help from other people”. – S.M.

“I’ve been suffering from trauma for the past 14-15 years, without knowing I had a disorder. I got more than one hundred war scenes that I saw that I did not know psychologically would affect me. I just got to know it through my treatment. I feel sick if I think about what a lot of my brothers and sisters are going through right now because of the lack of knowledge” K.M.

“While at the Monrovia Central Prison, an organization by the name of Second Chance visited the prison and we were helped by the means of their training, such as exercises, counseling and lectures. I personally benefited, there were exercises we were introduced to that when you are down or depressed, it helped you lift your spirit. It helped me many days to relax and have a good night rest despite my problems at the prison. It made me at times to even think that there was a second chance in my life. And I will like to encourage them to keep up the good works, because it made people feel important, that whatever problems in their lives is not the end of their lives. May the good God bless their effort and keep them strong”. M.R.

“We have really seen a change and we know that there’s a hope through psychology today, that we can forget about the past and even live a better life” - M.K.

“With all the trauma I experienced after my life was wasted. In fact you are my mentor, the voice for the voiceless. Anytime I think of Second Chance I see myself transforming from grass to grace. Words cannot express the kind of post trauma treatment you went through with me. I know it was short-termed but the little you gave me is worth. I can’t describe the type of trauma I suffer from birth till I was able to get in contact with you” K.M.

“She guided through the trauma healing and from that healing today I am able to recover, I came to myself, I came to my senses. I really feel good that now I am a human being, and I am safe, I feel fine in my body” –  F.D.

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For inquires about volunteering and internships, please use this form.

         We are a small group of volunteer innovators, change makers and leaders from four continents, who aside having full-time responsibilities, dedicate long extra hours to advance our mission.        

Kupe

Sumo Kupe
National Director
Kupe provides direct input and supervision of all projects on the ground, liaison between the organization and the government, and directs the Liberian staff team with exceptional knowledge, wisdom and leadership. With 20 years of experience working with refugees and war trauma across three countries in the West African region during and post the Liberian civil war, Kupe maintains an optimistic nature and passion for intervention work with former child soldiers, inmates, gangs, and vulnerable children.
       Alongside Second Chance, Kupe also serves as the Mental Health General Secretary at the Liberian Coalition of Mental Health Services.

 

Janaina V. Pinto
Founder/ Executive Director

Jana oversees all program design, implementation, training and research activities at Second Chance Africa (SCA). In commitment to preparing SCA's Liberian staff to lead the organization in the future, her vision and strategies are shared among three founding Liberian members: Kupe, Kaba, and William, whose input and suggestions guide decisions and direction of all programs. Jana holds a M.S. in Neuroscience, and is currently a final year PhD candidate in Medicine at the University of Sydney, conducting neuroscience research to identify stress biomarkers and examine treatment efficacy for war trauma in Africa. She also holds clinical certifications from renowned trauma centers around the world, and a 12-year background that combines psychiatric research and working with multicultural traumatized populations due to war and other humanitarian emergencies across six continents.

 

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William Siah
Community Health Worker

William leads our mental health workshops and support groups, and is passionate about merging education and mental health. Along with Kupe, William is chair member at the Liberian Coalition of Mental Health Services, representing SCA to the local government. During the Liberian Civil War, he worked on the ADRA-UNHCR and Red Cross frontline as a refugee school principal in both Ghana and Ivory Coast refugee camps. At Second Chance, he introduced a literacy program to our former child soldier and combatant outreach project. His experience working with refugee children has guided much of our youth resiliency projects.



 

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Artur Jeber
Director of Innovation

Artur is a Brazilian entrepreneur with focus on innovation and technology. As a computer scientist, he develops web and app solutions based on human necessity to improve life and daily problems. As CEO of Butec Unlimited Innovation, he is responsible for building startups, scalable business models for their clients and provide entrepreneur training.  At SCA, Artur assists building
all innovative technology to enhance research, scalable treatment delivery, and optimizing the accuracy of project impact reports. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     

Kaba Moore
Community Health Worker

Kaba is a support group leader, actively contributes to the development of curriculums for SCA,  and facilitates our trauma services for orphans, prisoners, school children, and hospital staff.  Currently, he is a senior student at A.M.E. Zion University pursuing a bachelors degree in Social Science with a minor in Criminal Justice. Kaba's professional experience includes Street Child of Liberia where he identified vulnerable children, provided street counseling services, and wrote reports. He also worked as a project coordinator during the Ebola virus outbreak in Liberia, delivering safety supplies to Ebola affected homes, assisting
with relocations, psychosocial support, and awareness workshops.
 

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Dehson Siah
Community Health Worker and IT Assistant

Dehson is driven young professional currently in technical school pursuing a career in IT. He recently joined our team in 2016 in preparation to launching the Sankofa project. Alongside leading groups in the urban Monrovia region, his responsibilities at include training and assisting the Liberian staff to use our Apps and digital plattaforms, troubleshooting, and assuring that all communication between teams runs smoothly during operations. We aim to sponsor Dehson through University, provide him leadership opportunities at SCA and resources to inspire and equip him to create strategies that will continuously enhance our impact via technology. 

Garmai Zaimah
Intern

Garmai joined our team in 2017 as an intern from the University of Liberia. She will be leading the female support groups at the Monrovia Central Prison under the close supervision of our senior Liberian staff. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Janaina Bueno
Director of Communications and Fundraising

Janaina holds a degree in Marketing and has comprehensive experience woking for non-profits, technology and advertising agencies. Her last position took place in the largest newspaper company in her country in the online advertisement section. Since a very young age, Janaina's heart has always beat strong for humanitarian work. Her extensive experience in social projects varies from organizing large operations of food donations for the homeless to social inclusion projects via recycling and sustainable initiatives. She believes that technology has a lot to contribute to social initiatives, and its mission is to understand the different needs of society, with the goal of creating and leading actions that connect interest to catalyze change.