Tutapona means"we will be healed" in Swahili.

About Our Founders

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In 2008, Carl and Julie Gaede, psychotherapists from western Wisconsin, moved to northern Uganda with their two young children to launch Tutapona. Since then, Tutapona has provided trauma rehabilitation programs to over 37,000 survivors of brutal civil wars. In 2016, the Gaedes moved to Iraq to expand Tutapona’s work to refugee camps in the Middle East.

THE STORY SO FAR

The Gaede’s desire was for obedience to God over comfort, serving others over being served, and following Christ over material possessions. With a passion to help severely traumatized people see radical transformation, they followed God’s calling to Uganda to work with child soldiers. Many children in Uganda’s North had endured unspeakable trauma and unfathomable loss when taken for Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army. It was here Tutapona was birthed and begun as the Gaedes moved themselves and their two young girls to Gulu, Uganda in August 2008. Working closely alongside another local charity for three years, Carl and Julie began their work with children the world had forsaken. Bringing a message of forgiveness, healing and restoration, Carl began training local workers to facilitate a program called EMPOWER written by psychologist Dr. Robi Sonderegger. In early 2011, the Gaedes felt God’s call to expand their reach beyond Northern Uganda. They made the bold decision to go out on their own. Launching in Magwi, South Sudan with only 3 staff, the work in South Sudan continued until the end of 2012 when their goal of reaching the Acholi corridor was complete. In addition, the Gaede family adopted a 14 year old, pregnant Acholi girl around this time.

In early 2013, God made it clear the work would expand into refugee settlements. By mid-2013, a team was established in Nakivale Refugee Settlement and over the coming years teams were equipped to provide trauma rehabilitation services at Rwamwanja, Kiryandongo and Adjumani refugee settlements as well. In late 2015, the Gaedes took an exploratory trip to Iraq to experience first hand the Syrian refugee crisis and see if there was any way Tutapona could help these victims of war. In September 2016, the Gaede family moved to Iraq to set up the first Tutapona office in the Middle East in Duhok, Iraq. Today, Tutapona has 25 staff in Uganda and 12 staff in Iraq.

Our Mandate is to lead individuals affected by war or conflict to emotional recovery through:

Group Trauma Care

Trauma Training

Individual Support Sessions

Group After Care

 

· OVER THE LAST 9 YEARS SINCE TUTAPONA HAS OPERATED IN UGANDA, WE’VE GROWN TO 25 STAFF NATIONWIDE.

· OVER 37,000 PEOPLE HAVE COMPLETED TUTAPONA’S TWO-WEEK TRAUMA REHABILITATION PROGRAM.

· WE'VE PROVIDED TRAUMA TRAINING TO PROFESSIONALS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS ON THE EFFECTS OF TRAUMA IN UGANDA, SOUTH SUDAN, THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO, AND ZAMBIA.

· IN 2016, WE EXPANDED OUR WORK TO THE MIDDLE EAST TO RESPOND TO THE NEEDS OF REFUGEES AND IDPS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA.

Our Values

JESUS:

We follow Jesus’ example of all encompassing love for everyone.

INTEGRITY:

We strive for consistency between our words, beliefs, and the reality of how we conduct ourselves. We are committed to excellence and providing the best support we can for our clients. We choose to be ethical in our professional and business practices. We recognize that Tutapona’s resources are not our own but entrusted to us for the service of others and require competent, effective and accountable stewardship.

HOPE:

We offer hope to the broken-hearted, restoring their vision for a fulfilling future.

COMPASSION:

Compassion for individuals affected by war and conflict drives us to walk with them through their darkest moments. Our staff embodies compassion for every story, every time.

RELATIONSHIP:

We value relationship in the communities where we work and celebrate the uniqueness of each individual. We recognize that lasting change is only possible through relationships that transform. Our internal relationships are healthy and professional. We remain patient with setbacks, strengthened by feedback, willing to forgive, humble in conflict and challenged to demonstrate Christ’s unconditional love to all.

COURAGE:

We act courageously by taking risks as we step out in faith and go to difficult places. Our clients need us to reach them where they are. Our courage is informed by humility, defined by action and grounded in our faith in a trustworthy God.

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Meet Shamme

My name is Shamme. I am 27 and I have three daughters aged 6, 8 and 11.  I remember the day ISIS came to Sinjar. I saw many people die that day. They separated my daughters and I from my husband. They took us to Syria and told us we have no God and no humanity. An ISIS man came and took me by the hair and forced me to marry him. If I refused to sleep with him, he would threaten to rape my daughters instead. Each night, he would come home with bloody clothes from fighting and I would have to hand-wash them. Then, one day, he told me he was going to be blowing himself up and so was selling me to another man. This next man was so bad to us. He would tie our hands behind our backs and only allow us out for prayer time. Once we tried to escape and he found out and put electricity on us all and gave us electric shocks to punish us. I saw women being stoned to death and many people with no heads lying on the ground. I struggled to sleep and felt like I was going crazy when this would happen.  Later my children were put in Islam classes and taught to cut off Barbies heads, then chicken heads and then at 10 years old, human heads. I saw a ten year old girl given drugs and then gang raped by five men. When we ‘converted’ to Islam I was given a suicide vest and my daughter was given a grenade. One day we managed to escape through a smuggler. We walked for three days to get to safety. When we arrived, I was so happy; but realized most of my relatives had been killed or were still in captivity. When I went to Tutapona’s program, it made me feel better because we talked about how God can give you a hope and a future. Like many of my friends, I was also thinking about killing myself - but that would not solve the problem. If God is willing, we will be healed. We will not be under someone’s control. Our people will come back from captivity and Sinjar will be back as it was before.

 

Meet Florence

Meet Ayenyo

My name is Ayenyo, and I am 35 years old. I have seven children aged 3-10 years old.  When the war broke out, we had to leave very quickly. We saw many dead bodies as we fled, we also saw many people screaming as they were in the process of dying. In conjunction with that, my husband disappeared as we made our way here. My brother also is missing. We don’t know where they are or if they are dead or alive. And my brother-in-law was shot dead. By the time we reached Uganda, the suffering was too much and we passed through a lot of stress; but in the camp we arrived to more issues. 

After we arrived my mind was really off. I started talking to myself and my senses were running away from me. I had seen so many dead bodies but had to keep going in order to save myself and my own children.  I had nightmares where I remembered all of that happening. My children also had bad dreams and weren’t sleeping.

Luckily enough, God blessed us when Tutapona came and taught us the skills of how to manage our stress. After the program I really felt relieved and a little bit of hope for the future. I also put the skills the program taught us into action and it is helping me a lot. The most touching lesson was one on forgiveness, and I taught that to my children. I am recovering my senses, and am able to come and speak with people. If Tutapona was not here, and after experiencing all these bad things, I would have shortened my life. But this program is prolonging my life. My request is that Tutapona not leave us alone. We still have a lot of trauma and we want to continue receiving the services. That will help us in this life situation we are in.