The Ari community in Ethiopia lives a traditional way of life. Although some of those practices are beautiful traditions, others are painful and harmful. Healing Voice is a 10-episode drama series designed to bring healthful information about family and sexual issues as well as to initiate spiritual discussion about the gospel.
In January 2016, four social workers began using Healing Voice as a tool to initiate conversations. We recently received a report from the team about the impact that the tool and their work has had in the community.
In groups of 5-10 people, the social workers invite men and women to listen to the episodes and discuss the content. The social workers have conducted groups with 2628 individuals in varying settings such as hospitals, schools, neighborhoods, and churches.
The participants have responded very positively to the content, and the social workers have noted growing community openness to speaking about family and sexual health.
Healing Voice also prompted some women to share about their experience with fistula, an injury from childbirth that can leave a woman with infection and incontinence. In some communities, women with fistula are disgraced, abandoned, and live in poverty.
After listening to the program, one young woman spoke up that she had been suffering from fistula for a year and that her husband had left her and married someone else. Social workers were able to connect her with a hospital for treatment.
One important component of the program is inspiring listeners to become community advocates with their newfound information. Women who listened promised to share the lessons with others and to encourage each other to check in at a health clinic if they suspected that they were pregnant or ill.
Even men who listened to the program became more vocal about health and spiritual issues. Through Healing Voice, some of these men built firm convictions to uphold the dignity of women and to teach those values to other men in the community.
All men who listened to the episode walked away condemning marriage through abduction, and some of them even dropped their plans to marry additional wives. Social workers noted in the report that a number of men came forward with their own personal health concerns or on behalf of their wives.
After almost two years of on-the-ground work with Healing Voice, the team desires to expand the ministry to include other areas and language groups. Please pray for the team, the social workers, and the listeners of Healing Voice. Pray that God would stir hearts to change, heal their brokenness, and invite listeners to find Him. This project is currently fully funded; however, if you would like to support other initiatives like this, please visit twrwomenofhope.org/give.