Bringing Hope to War-Torn Afghanistan
Inge Missmahl witnessed chaos, violence and despair on her first visit to Afghanistan. Now, spends her time on a mission of healing. The most effective answer she’s found to the hardships people endure here is not medicinal, its psychological.
Inge is working to bring psychotherapy counselors and create counseling centers for the people of Afghanistan. She imagines counseling as a vital part of the Afghan Health Care system.
“When you are surrounded by extreme violence and have survived, you need empathy, understanding, and a friendly ear” says Inge. People begin to feel loss of control, and react by trying to control what surrounds them. Men hit their wives, and also hit children. Violence is passed along through the generations, unless the cycle can be broken.
Today, Afghanistan is one of the poorest countries in the world. With the occupation of U.S. troops, coming on the tails of the Taliban rule, things have only gotten tougher for the people here. 70% of the Afghan population is illiterate. Over half of children under the age of 5 are malnourished. Its also one of the youngest countries, with average age here at 17.
Daywa, from a village near Herat, Afghanistan, has survived several bombings. “My future does not look brilliant, but I want to have a good future for my son.”
Inge has carefully observed victims of manic depression all over this war-torn country. Treatment as usual with medication, seems of little effectiveness. Symptoms over time stay the same or have even gotten worse. With psychological care, symptoms drop significantly. 70% of Inge’s patients have regained their lives.
Inge has been working in Afghanistan since 2004. By chance, she met a German financier, who worked with her to open 50 counseling centers near Kabul. To this day, they have worked with over 11,000 patients. To spread the work even further, she’s helped write training manuals and a structure to extend the program across the country.
“I never knew why I survived the killings in my village”, said counselor Naazi, “but now I know, I am a new beacon of peace to my society.”
How you can help:
Please consider donating to a charitable organization working in Afghanistan. One such program Women for Women provides education, job training, along with basic essentials for women and children in Afghanistan.