Self-Help Action Supporting Survivors of Torture and Trauma on Bougainville

A Plan of Small Generalisable Actions
Short Version


Posted Nov 1998. Last Updated April 2014.


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Other Links

Long Version of this Plan

Self Help Action Rebuilding Wellbeing - A Micro-Project

The Wider Plan

Laceweb Home Page



This document is expressed in very tentative terms because nothing contained in this document could happen unless the local Bougainville people want it.



This document is about possibilities for small local self-help action supporting survivors of torture and trauma in Bougainville. It is based on a model that indigenous, small minority and intercultural people in an informal network in the SE Asia Oceania Australasia Region have successfully evolved and used in increasing their own wellbeing for over thirty years.

This plan is part of a wider plan for the Region. See link above.

The Intercultural Wellbeing Foundation and the Bougainville Development Foundation are functional matrices - part of that informal network engaged in self-help well-being action within the above Region. This Network known by some as the 'Laceweb', has been evolving in remote and rural areas in the Region since the early 1960's

People from the Laceweb who have supported themselves and other locals in mutual-help and self-help on many occasions, may be available to support both the above Foundations and survivors of torture and trauma in Bougainville. Neither the Foundations nor the Laceweb is connected with any political group, faction or religion. They respect spiritual and cultural diversity and humane caring ways of shared living and governance. Laceweb healing ways may form a basis for supporting culturally appropriate healing and redevelopment action among Bougainvillians.

The Laceweb has demonstrated that traumatised people can provide a healing support to each other as part of a healing community. It is self help. This is not discussing a 'service'. People may heal themselves and pass on what works to others. This help and support may be passed on within an expanding Bougainvillian network, and thus support may grow exponentially.

Extensive historical and research material on the Laceweb and linked functional energies is available. This material has been prepared in part by a Laceweb Enabler and the Bougainville Development Foundation's Chairperson for their respective Ph.D. research into the Laceweb and the participatory self help model(s).

An evolving voluntary mutual-help and self-help network among Bougainvillians holds forth the possibility of passing on healing and nurturing ways among the natural nurturers in the local communities where these nurturers may spread them widely to others in their communities as locals go about their daily lives.

In this way, anyone who has been traumatized may potentially become a nurturing healing resource person for themselves and other locals.

Following many years of discussions among Bougainville people, members of both Foundations, resonant networks and Laceweb enablers, an extensive range of themes, processes and healing micro-experiences may be shared and explored. Micro-experiences may be easily passed on using experiential processes.

The Plan may provide healing support for Children, Adolescents, Women, Men, Families, Communities and Combatants.


Broad themes:

o    Establishing rapport

o    Gaining acceptance of the healing support role

o    Identifying specific issues to be resolved, including 'being safe' and 'exploitation of sexual identity'

o    Resolving anger and violent behaviour

o    Resolving the effects of psycho-social, physical and sexual abuse - feeling safe again

o    Identifying and using existing psycho-social resources

o    Healing grief, shame and loss

o    Letting go 'war zone' mentality - feeling safe again

o    Using individual, family and community healing processes

o    Healing play, games, fantasy and fun

o    Enabling well-being resources

o    Empowering well-being

o    Enabling the building of community; developing resources

o    Forming support coalitions and fostering support networks and friendship

The Laceweb has tight 'Funding and Evaluation Protocols' - see the Long Version for details.

The above organic process is resonant with our local ways within Bougainville and with both the Foundations and the Laceweb enablers' desire firstly, to use 'self help' processes and secondly, to stay clear of a kind of pseudo-help that disempowers and leaves control of process and content to outside 'experts'.

This Plan and the Micro-proposal may well form a model for wider support of participatory self help on Bougainville by government and both non government and community based organisations.

We understanding that the self help healing network is already evolving in Bougainville. Uncompromising funding support can see it blossom.

The possibility is that the further evolving of these healing networks will not only help bring healing to a war ravaged people, it may well be the major process for consolidating the peace process.

Anybody funding this plan and the micro-proposal is funding something that may have Global relevance.


Providing support


Perhaps you may want to support this Micro-Action and be part of an extra-ordinary healing Odyssey.


Feedback & Email


Other links:


Long Version of this Project

Laceweb Home Page


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