TT Img
Cordy Anderson and Penninah apply TT to Julie Benkofsky
TT Img
Anglican sisters practicing TT in Lesotho


Some of the projects positively AFRICA works on cross national borders. We call thse 'special projects'


Theraputic Touch

The Ripple Effect - Touching 4000 AIDS patients and counting in Rwanda

by Peggy Frank. August, 2009


UPDATE! Click here to read Peggy Frank's report about the Theraputic Touch and other Training Workshops, Nov 09 - Feb 10. (Please by patient: it may take a moment for the link to load.)


Therapeutic Touch (TT) uses subtle physical contact and our own physical and mental/emotional responses to provide relief from an array of issues, including physical pain, depression, trauma and grief. It also helps us create feelings of wellness and optimism. Through the work of positively AFRICAís Volunteer Executive Director, Peggy Frank, the Nurse Healers Association and the Stephen Lewis Foundation among others, an exciting new TT project in Rwanda has begun.

TT in Rwanda — background
The project was initiated in 2005 when Peter Bardon assisted Peggy in teaching a TT beginner’s class in Rwanda. The project took flight in 2006 when Peninah Abatoni, the manager of the Village of Hope (VoH), in Kigali, Rwanda, attended ten days of intense training at Indralaya in Washington State. Maria Arlington, Julie Benkofsky Webb, Dee Kreiger and others assisted with Peninah's training.

Peninah excelled and returned home inspired to practice and teach. Peggy also returned to Rwanda in 2007, and together they trained those working at the Rwanda Women's Network (RWN) clinic in Kigali.

Peninah has now taught over 400 women TT. Those 400 provide care to over 4000 people in the area around Kigali! These numbers continue to grow as more people take the training and spread the practice. The ripple effect of the single training at the VoH is enormous.

Rwandan home-based care involves traveling long distances on foot to rural dwellings where mats on the ground are the patientís bed, women are often at home unattended, and food is sparse. Additionally, HIV+ women are often depressed and traumatized from the genocide, their diagnosis (AIDS), and the stigma of the disease in their communities.

The care-givers, often themselves HIV+, provide comfort, compassion, information, encouragement and TT treatment. The hard work of these care-givers, and the benefits of TT itself, explain the projectís success in Rwanda.

TT in Rwanda — future plans
This project has inspired positively AFRICA and TT International to work together and raise funds for African trainees to come annually to Indralaya (Washington State) and Pumpkin Hollow (New York State) where TT training occurs in June and July.

Please consider funding these plans! I would be happy to discuss the details of this project with you and discuss exactly how your funds will be used.

Your donations for TT Scholarships will make the ripples continue to spread. It is easy to donate for this project online through the Therapeutic Touch International website: click here to open a new window and visit this site.

Peggy, herself a widow and twenty-two year survivor of HIV, inspires the care-givers and helps them overcome a sense of hopelessness. While in Africa, she not only taught at the Village of Hope but also taught TT to patients at an AIDS hospice in Zimbabwe, to hospice staff and volunteers in South Africa, and to Anglican sisters doing home-based care in Lesotho.

Peggy has self-funded her work in Africa, although she was grateful for help in 2007 when contributions came from friends, Tibotek-Canada (a pharmaceutical company) and the BCGEU (her union). She is seeking support to continue with her work in the fall of 2009, with plans to teach more TT in Lesotho and Zimbabwe and offer training to youth in the slums of Nairobi. If time, health and finances allow she will return to Rwanda and work with both urban and rural groups. She will continue strengthening partnerships with TT International and care-giving groups in Africa. If you would like to learn more or assist Peggy please contact her at

A related project which requires funding is documentation translation. African practitioners and teachers of TT need to translate small simple manuals, such as that written by Maria Rossitor Thornton, into their own languages. In Rwanda, that language is Kinyarwanda - which is also the language of neigbouring Burundi. Both were Belgian (French) colonies prior to independence.  

In Kenya, the most common language is Swahili.  In Zimbabwe both Shona and Ndebele are spoken as well as English, and in Lesotho the languages are mainly Sotho, Xhosa and Zulu.  There are several languages in South Africa. 

Donations can be made to positively AFRICA for TT training in Africa.  These funds will be used to pay for facilities and food for the women desiring TT training. Please click here to make a donation to positively AFRICA.