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The Work in Zimbabwe

For those of you who aren’t yet aware of Nadine Ferris France and her team, read her latest email (below). Thanks to you and your School enrollments and tuition’s, the Work Foundation is able to make allow community leaders in Zimbabwe to attend this year’s School for The Work in Bad Neuenahr, Germany. We are able to pay for round-trip airfare, onsite hotel expenses, etc. and make it possible for these leaders to go back home and, with the help of Nadine and her team, continue their training to become Certified Facilitators of The Work. So enjoy one woman’s marvelous work for the end of suffering.

Dearest Katie,

At the airport on my way home from two days in Belarus. I was invited to speak on self-stigma and HIV to a regional conference of 90 HIV positive women from Ukraine, Russian Federation and Belarus (over 10 countries were represented). Yesterday, I had a 3 hour session with the group, where I presented on self-stigma and HIV based on the Irish research on beliefs, then presented the Zimbabwe Self-stigma and The Work programme and then did The Work with the group. It was all in Russian – with an interpreter – as the majority of people only speak Russian and little to no English.

Each person filled out a Judge-Your-Neighbor Worksheet (in Russian!) and I worked the first statement on the Worksheet with one beautiful woman while the group followed in their own work internally – “I am angry at Olga because she judged me (because of my HIV status)”.

Katie, it was mind-blowing – there are just no other words for this experience. I found the women so incredibly open to themselves and to The Work, and willing to answer the questions so fluidly – most of the women in this region have contracted HIV through drug use – so have battled drug addiction and HIV, using methods such as the 12-step programme. This region has the highest-growing HIV epidemic in the world at the moment and remains very poor – so it’s the tip of the iceberg in terms of amount of people already infected – in the next five years we will see a huge increase.

After the session I was flooded with people asking for The Work for themselves and for their own national programmes. Then in a meeting with the group of advocates that brought me to Belarus, they want their own programme on self-stigma and The Work and they want their own trained facilitators. It seems we might go the same road as we did in Zimbabwe: a 12 week self-stigma and HIV course, the School for The Work, and then the Training for Trainers so they have their own facilitators who can then give courses on self-stigma and HIV all around the region. These women are absolutely incredible, and I have no doubt will make it happen with a little support from us. They are strong, open, skilled, and highly tenacious! We will need to get one or two to the School quickly, so watch for even more scholarship applications coming soon.

Katie, this continues to explode around us in terms of demand, and I just want to keep you with us so you are aware when things are coming left and right and where they are coming from.

I am looking forward to seeing you in London, and I look forward to our time together after your book signing for me to share some of the incredible Work happening in Zimbabwe and now the Russian region it seems!

Here is one of the women I met yesterday!

With so much love and gratitude.
Nadine xxxxx

PS – the materials on in Russian were SOOO USEFUL

Dearest Nadine,

Thank you for the update. You are tireless, and I am ready and willing to keep up with you as long as I am financially able, of course! No holding back, dearest, and it’s not easy to keep up with you as you continue to move The Work for the end of suffering in our world. What a privilege to support this path and to know you!

Always your partner in your lifelong journey to end suffering,

Local Zimbabwe facilitators with Certified Facilitators for The Work of Byron Katie: (left to right) Susan V, Nysha T*, Nadine F, Sylvia V**, and Margot D.


The Work in Zimbabwe


These are the participants in a 3-month course on self-stigma and HIV, using The Work. Each of them has described the far-reaching impact that the course has had on their lives. They want to develop a five-year plan to move the Work in Zimbabwe, especially related to HIV-connected issue. Nadine says, “It is the most exciting and meaningful project I have ever had the privilege to be involved in.” Thank you, Nadine, Margot, and Susan, and all of you who have supported the project.

Thank You!

Thanks to all of you and your School enrollments, these people from Zimbabwe were able to attend the School for The Work last July in Germany.

Their job now is to professionally facilitate people in Zimbabwe who are suffering from the huge stigma associated with being HIV-positive in their culture. They will also be training others to end HIV stigma in Zimbabwe. Through The Work, Dr. Nadine Ferris France from Ireland and her team, Margot Diskin from France and Susan Vielguth from Canada, are helping people in Zimbabwe live happier, more peaceful lives. Thank you all for giving the gift that keeps giving.




Letter: From Sylvia

Dear Katie,

I wish to participate again in the nine-day School for the Work to be held in July this year. It is my hope that I will gain some more experience and would work towards being certificated.

Ever since I left the School last year on the 28th of July 2013 my life was a complete change. I now watch my diet and do morning walks and as a result my blood pressure is no longer alarming to the extent that my physician reduced the quantity intake of my medication. I realised that going through inquiry helped me to be in touch with my inner self. I had not forgiven my late husband Maston Vumbunu for transmitting the deadly virus HIV to me, but I wrote a letter to apologise to him at the School, which was a major turning point. The letter made me forgive him and appreciate so many things that he had done for me for the seven years we were married.

That made me change the way I talk to my son about him. It made my son ask me what really transpired at the School of the Work. My son had noticed a great change in my stories about his father. I now talk good about him.

I also noticed that the stressful thoughts are universal. There are no thoughts which belong to HIV positive people only, therefore discovering that The Work is for all people e.g. HIV negative people, cancer patients, gay and lesbians, the old, and even children and teenagers.

I now face my thoughts head-on with inquiry. The Work is an ongoing process in my life. All I need is pen and paper to lead me to freedom.

Being the eldest child in a family of five, I was always out of my way and in my siblings’ business, creating more stress for myself. Now because of The Work, I can give room to my siblings to solve their own problems. When an issue comes to my attention, I question whether it is my business, theirs, or God’s. The Work also helped me not to fight with reality because I will never win the war.

We had a self stigma course using “inquiry-based stress reduction: The Work of Bryon Katie” (IBSR), which left me very liberated when we came back from the School. I no longer want to be treated with special care at funerals, church gatherings, etc. I also questioned so many thoughts involving my HIV status.

I also gained as a facilitator and as participant. We did “popcorn” and realised that The Work is for everyone, i.e facilitator and participant. I used to think that since I was involved in so many HIV workshops and also an HIV activist, I would not stigmatise myself. I realised that I had so many occasions and instances whereby I stigmatised myself and those around me.

My vision on how to move The Work in Zimbabwe among the people living with HIV is to cascade The Work, first to all the support groups in the capital city Harare and then Zimbabwe as a whole so that many people benefit. Also to have more local facilitators receiving training at the School for the Work, for I hope to see The Work moving to other provinces in Zimbabwe, since ZNNP+ has support groups throughout the country . I also hope that one day the School for The Work will be done in Africa in Zimbabwe and have local Certified Facilitators.

My commitment to move The Work is to give all I can, 100%. I will use my weekends and other afternoons to do The Work with the participants. I also created a whatsapp and a Facebook group chats for the Community of the Work in Zimbabwe. We watch videos and listen to audios from BKI. I take it upon myself to remind members of the Community to come for The Work and encourage them to read books by Byron Katie.

So far I contributed in translating the yellow card in our native language. I am now working on translating the sheet “Instructions for Doing the Work “.

I hope this information will meet your expectation and favourable consideration.

Yours Faithfully,
Sylivia V

Letter: From Nysha

Dear Katie,

My wish is to participate again in the nine-day School for The Work for July 2014 so as to further gain experience in anticipation of working towards certification.

Because of The Work I am a changed person in terms of relationships, diet, and exercising. The work done in 2013 helped understand more about my environment and myself, whereby introspection on self is involved, thereby ending up with self-realisation through the turnaround. Not all the stress that I experience is because of the “outside world” but I realised that I was contributing to that stress. Thanks to Katie and The Work I now have forgiven my late father, late husband, and aunts, for I found out that holding on to the past actually stressed me more and hindered my health status.

The Work also took me through the process of accepting reality, for I was a person who would question “Why me?“ but failed to have fulfilling answers. I would end up blaming myself that God / the world is unfair. This would cause more stress on me, for some of the issues were not even my business. Some of the issues were really my siblings’ to handle, but I ended up in their realm. As a result of The Work, I now allow my brothers and sisters to work on their own challenges.

I now look at challenges differently than before I did The Work, accepting them as they come for I now have space to do The Work with myself before getting into mood swings or crying a lot without hope.

After the School I accept circumstances as they unfold and move on with life. At my workplace I had a last-minute change of class when I had already planned for another one allocated to me. Some workmates were surprised that I did not confront my boss on the issue but accepted and began to plan for the given grades, which eliminated stress and helped me manage the situation better

When we came back from the school in 2013, we set up two groups of people living with HIV to deal with self stigma. This course led me to freedom – there was lightness rather than heaviness in my heart pertaining to how HIV was transmitted to me. At first my perception was to help out our mates with self stigma as a facilitator, but then I realised that The Work is for both the participant and the facilitator. It helped me reflect back to the early days of my diagnosis with HIV. I discovered that they are some instances where I was stigmatizing myself and those around me where acting/commenting on what I would have started myself.

My vision for moving forward The Work among people living with HIV as part of the leaders of the community of the work of Zimbabwe in future is to expand it so that many will benefit, beginning with the support groups of People Living with HIV in Harare Metropolitan Province. Also to have more local facilitators receiving training at the School for The Work, for I would also wish to see The Work cascading to the other 9 provinces of Zimbabwe, ZNNP has its membership in the ten provinces of Zimbabwe. I also dream of having Zimbabwe as a resource centre for The Work in southern Africa and Africa as a whole, “thereby bringing The Work to Africa.” To counter “discrimination,” I would also like to see ourselves working with other groups, i.e. diabetic, cancer patients, divorcees, the bereaved, and youths, and partner with more organisations, for I have learnt that The Work is for all.

My commitment to moving The Work is holding sessions during some weekends excluding public holidays and some afternoons during the week with the communities including the groups we formed in 2013. I would also remind people of our meetings, i.e. time and venue, and also post some messages from BK and urging them always refer to the books she wrote. The other commitment is the translating of materials where needed from English to Shona for the general understanding of the participants. So far I assisted in translating the yellow card when we did the self stigma course. Currently I am working on the self stigma sheet on “instructions on doing The Work.”

I hope the given information will meet your expectations and favourable consideration.

Yours Truly
Nyasha T.