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 50,000 individuals affected conflict and war in Uganda and Iraq, and most recently, in St Paul, Minnesota.


With a passion to help severely traumatized people see radical transformation, the Gaede family followed God’s calling to Uganda to work with recovering child soldiers. Uganda’s North had endured unspeakable trauma and unfathomable loss and many children were taken by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army. It was here Tutapona was birthed. 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. 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 2013, Tutapona began working with refugees living in Uganda when a team was established in Nakivale Refugee Settlement, reaching people from Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, Burundi and Sudan. Over the coming years, our trauma rehabilitation services expanded into Rwamwanja, Kiryandongo, Adjumani and Oruchinga 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, Kurdistan ( Northern Iraq). The work, which has had notable success in several refugee camps, has continued to thrive since the Gaede’s return to the U.S.A.

In September 2018, Tutapona launched our world class trauma rehabilitation program specifically for children living as refugees. This program, called The HEROES JOURNEY, was written by child mental health specialists to help children work through their experiences using Post Traumatic Growth strategies.

We are proud to announce our most recent expansion, Tutapona’s first stateside office in St Paul, Minnesota, which opened in May 2019 to bring trauma rehabilitation to the 90,000 refugees living in the region. Please continue to pray for Tutapona and the Gaede family as they follow God’s call wherever He directs them.