Nonprofits to Know™: Center for Victims of Torture

Uploaded by mnpartnersvideo on 22.05.2012

Patricia: Every refugee has their unique story, but the refugees that are coming to Minnesota right now,
into the United States in general, are coming quite often from these very protracted,
prolonged civil conflicts in places like Burma. The Karen have been targeted
and forced out of Burma for decades. There’s been a civil war.
And it’s been an armed conflict at times between the Karen and the Burmese soldiers.
And so they’ve been living in camps along the Thai-Burma border.
You know, torture survivors can come with a whole complex of really serious symptoms
including symptoms of re-experiencing their torture in the form of nightmares and flashbacks.
They’re often very avoidant of situations that might be frightening, so they don’t come out in the public to get help.
And they tend to have a lot of difficulty with fear.
Eh Taw Dwe: They hurt me. They punch me. They kick me. Those things physically have already healed,
but the word that is saying to my ear is poison, you know.
I still remember that and it’s very hard to forget.
Evelyn: The foundation of our work is our clinic here in St. Paul where we help to heal torture
survivors. Healing in Partnership is our current community capacity-building project.
We’re really working with two groups. We work with the torture survivors or war survivors' communities
and then we work with the mainstream provider communities. And we’re trying to help them to connect.
The key to this facilitating is those leaders in the refugee community, leaders such as Eh Taw.
He has his own story and he uses that to be able to understand what’s happening to the people
he’s working with and knows the need for help and knows where to find it,
has built relationships with the rest of us and helps to make the connection there.
Eh Taw Dwe: I think it’s very important to have CVT because all of these immigrant communities,
especially refugees community, especially the war refugees, they facing this a lot and they don’t know how to
get treatment or they don’t know how to get help.
Patricia: Center for Victims of Torture has been a human rights leader nationally and internationally
in raising awareness of human rights atrocities around the world, and in particular,
the suffering of those who are victims of torture internationally. And to that extent,
it’s an international human rights organization that Minnesota can be proud of.
Evelyn: I meet people like Eh Taw — I’ve known him for a couple of years — and I see the
progress he makes not only in his own life, but in what he’s offering back to the community here.
And yes, that’s the hope, knowing that small steps can be taken and
people can start to rebuild their lives and get back what was lost.
Eh Taw Dwe: You know you feel that you’re safe and you can control your mind;
you can control yourself. You can plan for your future and everything.
You feel that you’re healthy and worth it.
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