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Sierra Leone's army heals trauma with yoga

Sierra Leone

In Sierra Leone, a yoga-program, led by the army, is helping soldiers overcome decades of trauma caused by the civil war of the 1990’s and the 2014 Ebola epidemic.

Sergeant Felixson Musa first shared the physical and mental benefits of yoga to his superiors in 2014. The yoga instructor disclosed that introducing this idea in the military was not easy.

Corporal Michael Kargbo was abducted as a child rebel at the age of 12.

“I come from the Kailahun District, where the rebels were based. We have had boys who killed their mothers and fathers before they were even 12 years old.”

“It was at that age that they took me, and I was with them until I grew up. I had no one to help or encourage me, and no one to help me get back to a normal life, no one. I continued to fight with them, to accumulate traumas, to kill innocent people.”

He said the that yoga has helped him to forget the bad memories of the past.

The majority of Sierra Leoneans are living with some form of trauma caused by the civil war, the Ebola epidemic, or have been affected by deadly annual floods, according to Musa.

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