Memory Work

Crafting Connections, Igniting Change: A Journey Through Shared Histories

At the core of Sinomlando’s mission lies the transformative power of memory work, a beacon of hope for orphaned and vulnerable children and youth navigating the complexities of loss, HIV positivity, drug abuse, and other psychosocial challenges. Recognized by schools, clinics, hospitals, and fellow NGOs for its impactful support, Sinomlando’s Memory Work Programme adapts oral history techniques, blending narrative therapy, life histories, play, and counseling to offer social and emotional support.

Activities & Games, Group Work,

Memory work

Memory work is at the heart of Sinomalando. It is hugely beneficial to orphaned and vulnerable children and youth who have been affected by the loss of parents, a positive HIV status, drug abuse and various other psychosocial issues. Children in need of counselling are referred to Sinomlando by schools, clinics, hospitals and other NGOs.

Activities and games

Trained facilitators use various games and activities to encourage children to share their experiences and recall aspects of their family history which might have been ignored or silenced. We encourage them to ask questions and express emotions such as sadness, anger and worry, as well as happiness and joy. By working through their emotions, these young people are able to come to terms with what has happened to them, and learn ways of overcoming deeply disturbing events in their lives.

Group work

We also do a lot of group work, where participants learn to care and support one other both during the sessions and afterwards. It is often helpful to involve the children’s primary caregivers in the process. These people usually have similar issues and benefit from going through the memory programme as much as their young charges.

Building resilience in people and communities through memory work

Memory work: Is an adaptation of Oral History which includes other approaches like narrative therapy, life histories, play and counseling skills.

Memory Work Programme

The Memory Work Programme has different projects which are the Memory Box, the Afterschool, and the Peer Leaders Projects or the ‘Onjengami Clans’. Another project is the primary caregiver’s Responsive Parenting Sessions. Where possible the training extends to other groups that interact with the youth for example, the educators and the clinic staff. The approach of including other role players in the training is in recognition of the fact that resilience depends on a cluster of factors that influence relational and broader social factors. More than the individual motivation, the intervention and its intensity count for the greatest difference in outcomes (Ungar, 2102). The ongoing support is provided in the form of peer leaders’ projects or ‘Onjengami Clans’ to encourage the agency of the youth, to create an environment that is supportive and conducive to success.

Memory Box Project

  • Memory Work is an adaptation of Oral History which includes narrative therapy, life histories, play and counseling skills.

  • Memory work training workshops for community workers (4 days), followed by an evaluation workshop (1 day).
  • Train the trainer course (3 months with combination of residential training and supervised fieldwork).
  • Facilitation of children’s, teenagers & care group sessions.

Memory Work

The Memory Work Programme was funded by Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation (BMSF), another wing of BMSF known as Kids Care, Comité catholique contre la faim et pour le développement (CCFD) and a donation in kind from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC).

Memory Work is an adaptation of Oral History which includes other approaches like narrative therapy, life histories, play and counseling skills. It is used for social and emotional support of vulnerable children, their families as well as their communities. Memory Work goes beyond the initial memory box project which was designed for short interventions for orphans and vulnerable children. Through the Memory Work Programme, the youth receive ongoing support while they engage in activities that help them practice leadership and being change agents.