The Bougainville Survivors of Trauma Association Inc.



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Written 1997. Latest update August 2014.


Enabling wellness support to Bougainville People.



The Association has been formed by Bougainville people and other interculturals who are studying, or who have studied, in Australia. The Association is not connected with any political group, faction or religion. It respects spiritual and cultural diversity. It was formed to enable possible support to Bougainvillian torture and trauma survivors and to receive funding.

The Association links closely with the enabling action of the Laceweb and the Intercultural Wellbeing Foundation.

The focus of the Association's action includes all forms of wellness including (in no particular order) cultural, clan,  personal,  family,  mental, interpersonal, spiritual, emotional, psychological, physical, communal, inter-family, habitat, village, inter-village inter-religious, inter-clan, environmental, inter-factional, economic, and inter-cultural wellness.


Since the early 1990's, the Bougainville founders of the Bougainville Survivors of Trauma Association Inc., with other intercultural healers, have been linking with Bougainvillians in Bougainville exploring and enabling trauma support.


  • the size of the numbers involved
  • the aftermath of the Conflict
  • having healing ways sensitive to local cultural ways
  • local people’s cultural ambivalence to and dis-interest in 'trauma service delivery' by 'bureaucracy backed experts'
  • the high costs involved in using a 'service delivery' option
  • concern about 'strings attached' to international funding

The consensus of action is using the local natural and traditional nurturers as the starting point. Locals already seek these nurturers out for support. This communal-centred, self-help, and mutual help, is in keeping with Bougainville traditional ways. The Association/Laceweb experience is that nurturers can heal themselves and support others (refer Laceweb experience below).

The Association may set up possibilities for Laceweb 'enabling support' to these local nurturers. They may energize the evolution of more nurturers, who in turn may pass healing ways on to others. The self help network! Refer Laceweb Sociograms - Figures Depicting the Evolving of Indigenous/Small Minority Healing Networks in SE Asia Australia Pacific.


Founding members, and other enablers linked to the Association, have been seeking out the healing wisdoms of indigenous and small minorities, for over fifty years. An informal Laceweb intercultural healing network has been evolving. Extensive links have been made with small local well-being action throughout the Australasia-Oceania SE Asia region. Refer Laceweb - Self-Help Action Supporting Survivors of Torture and Trauma in SE Asia, Oceania and Australasia - Small Generalisable Actions

Ideas are evolving for an intercultural healing gathering in a safe haven inland from Cairns in June 2000. Bougainville people in that locality may join with refugees from East Timor, West Papua and Vietnam (Hmong) Refer A Micro Project.


Currently the Association may access a small group of well-being enablers from the Laceweb as resource people - available as possible support for local Bougainville nurturers - from possibly the following cultural backgrounds:

  • Bougainvillian
  • PNG Estuarine
  • Melanesian
  • Australian South Sea Islander
  • Australian Aboriginal
  • Black South African
  • Maori
  • Chinese
  • Anglo

Laceweb enablers have experiences in linking with, and enabling, self help among disadvantaged small minority and Indigenous people. They combine understandings in psychotherapy, with traditional healing ways. They have tertiary education through to the Ph.D. level. One is both a psychiatrist and a barrister.


Over the past seven years the Association, in dialogue with people throughout Bougainville, has been evolving a project for extending self help healing wellbeing networks on Bougainville. Details of this project may be found at Laceweb - Self-Help Action Rebuilding Well-Being .


As a small micro-project, ideas are evolving for Laceweb enablers to join with both the adults and children of Bougainville families living in Far North Queensland (FN Qld) in Australia. The gathering in a bush setting may be for the sharing of healing ways. Approximately 35 may be involved. Additionally, a small group of East Timorese from the Darwin region have expressed interest in linking with this gathering. As a possible second stage, some of this FN Qld group, perhaps with a few of the enablers, may be a resource that may be available to link with local Bougainville nurturers in Bougainville. (This gathering in FNQ happened and folk were supported towards increasing wellness.)

As well, extending humane healing links to East Timorese from the Darwin safe haven may emerge. This networking also occurred, with a Laceweb person visiting East Timor in 2003 locating natural nurturers and networks of natural nurturers and linking these together in East Timor and also linking them into extended healer networks in the Region.

These other healing gatherings may happen in safe places for a number of days. This may allow respectful exchanges of understandings about what may be possible, and what the challenges and dangers are. It may also allow the local nurturers to take back home a few additional healing ways - whatever appeals to them - from the diverse healing ways available. Refer Trauma Healing Workshop.

These second stage Bougainville linkings may possibly take place in a rural camp-out environment, away from Bougainville or possibly within Bougainville. As well, we may be able to embed a little gathering within a small therapeutic community rich with healing possibilities. Because of respect and the possible danger and the precariousness of those involved, everything is of necessity small and tentative.


Sadly, aspects of the human tragedy of Bougainville are replicated throughout the Earth. It may be that lessons learned in possibilities for evolving nurturing energy capable of healing Bougainville people may have Global relevance.

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