A nurse found a way to empower South African women who head agencies that deal with HIV/AIDS orphans. Frequently, the women themselves have lost loved ones to the disease.
As she traveled through South Africa, Robin Goff, RN, and founder of The Light Center in Baldwin, Kan., saw firsthand the extreme nature of the AIDS/HIV crisis there. In this year alone, more than a million children will be orphaned in South Africa as a result of this crisis.
But Goff found a way to empower South African women who deal with AIDS/HIV on a daily basis.
In February 2004, she taught a formal class in Healing Touch to 20 middle- to senior-aged women in Soweto, South Africa, who are heads of agencies that deal with AIDS/HIV and orphan care. Overwhelmed by their task, coupled with the loss of their own loved ones, the women had no time to meet others who faced the same situation or to care for themselves.
Their Healing Touch experience allowed them to meet each other, discover additional community resources, and use their own hands to sooth and comfort those who suffered from AIDS/HIV. Goff also conducted informal Healing Touch training in many orphan care centers.
“The women took to Healing Touch immediately and they were good at it,” she said. “Our mission is to provide Healing Touch training and support to the grandmothers of South Africa who are doing the caregiving in the AIDS crisis. It is heart-wrenching to imagine the weariness of these older women who are now left to care for their dying children, as well as their grandchildren.”
Goff and three other nurses from across the United States will again visit South Africa and share the benefits of Healing Touch during the first three weeks of February. They will offer Level I and Level II Healing Touch in Johannesburg and Level I in Cape Town.
“The Light Center has worked with Novalis Institute in Cape Town and the Unity Church in Johannesburg, regarding the orphan crisis, for about two years,” Goff said. “…I have known the Unity minister in South Africa since she studied at Unity Village (Mo.) and attended a grief workshop at The Light Center. She is Zulu and we are in South Africa to back up what the Zulu women are putting in motion.”
The South African government had not intervened in the AIDS/HIV crisis until the last two years. They are now admitting the problem, and clinics are overcrowded. There are also many disenfranchised people who have AIDS/HIV, and child-headed households are a huge factor.
“The problem is vaster than we can imagine,” Goff said. “South Africa is like a Third World country and a First World country mixed up together with a middle class that is slowly emerging, which is largely an aftermath of apartheid.”
Healing Touch sprang out of the American Holistic Nurses Association. More than 60,000 people in 20 countries have been certified in the last 15 years, and 50 percent are nurses.
“Healing Touch is based on the idea that there is a bioelectric field in and around the body, and there are many ways to work with that energy field,” Goff said. “It’s tremendously useful in all kinds of symptom management. I’ve seen a migraine go away in only 15 minutes, with no recurrence.
“At the very least Healing Touch makes the body more balanced and relaxed so it is better able to heal itself. And there is certainly no harm being done.”
Goff will talk about her work in South Africa during the first annual Energy Healing Symposium, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 19 at Unity Temple on the Plaza, Kansas City, Mo.
For more information about Goff’s project, see www.lightcenterks.org/yebo_home.html. For more information about the conference, visit www.2reikimasters.com/gateway.html#symposium Kansas City Nursing News