CIRCle kubatana tose

What is CKT?

Circle kubatana tose (Shona) 

means "holding hands together."

After 4 individual sessions on the Friendship Bench, clients are invited to join a CKT circle. These circles are peer led groups that provide women and men with ongoing support. A circle is a safe space for people to come and share how they are coping with life or how they feel when they aren't coping with life.

We have found, and research has proven, that it is important to listen to others' experiences and to share your own experiences as part of the recovery journey. There is so much wisdom  to be learnt and passed on in lived experiences. When someone shares their problems and how they have overcome them or are managing to cope with them, it serves as hope for a peer who may be going through a similar experience but cannot see that it is possible to get through. Whether that is an HIV positive diagnosis, divorce, a lost child or depression, it helps to connect to someone who understands and who you can relate to. This bring a strong feeling of connection and belonging.

At the weekly meetings, a talking piece goes around which gives people time to share their personal experience without being interrupted and to indicate to the others in the circle that there should be a respectful silence so that the sharing person feels heard and their presence is acknowledged. What is said in a circle stays in the circle, confidentiality is stressed. 

Another part of CKT and important for a person’s recovery is behavioural activation. This consists of teaching clients to crochet items such as bags, baskets, mats or purses made from recycled plastic materials, the latter being an income-generating skill for participants. Besides being a form of income it is also found that keeping busy, having purpose and feeling productive helps clients minds become more peaceful, they say when they crochet they 'don't think too much'. This is ideal for what we are working on, which is 'kufungisisa'- thinking too much.

Circles vary in size, age, gender, religion and mental health condition of the participants. When groups meet they are there for a common cause; and that is mental health recovery and support. Clients join the groups and although they start with a 'standard operating procedure' eventually they develop it to suit themselves, they unanimously agree on the time and date to meet, whether they like to open in prayer or prefer a song. It's about getting the people to take ownership and learn group decision making skills. 

CREDIT: Rainer Kwiotek

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4 Weale Road

Milton Park

Harare, Zimbabwe

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