Mutual-help & Self-Help Action Supporting Survivors of Torture and Trauma in SE Asia, Oceania and Australasia


Short Version of the Plan


Written 1997. Updated April, 2014.


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Laceweb - Self-Help Action Supporting Survivors Of Torture And Trauma In Se Asia, Oceania And Australasia - Small Generalisable Actions

Self Help Action Rebuilding Wellbeing - A Micro-Project

Laceweb Home Page

This document is about possibilities for small local mutual-help, self-heal, self-help action supporting East Timorese, West Papuans, Bougainvillians, Hmong, Vietnamese and other Indigenous/disadvantaged small minority torture and trauma survivors among Focal people. It is based on a model that Focal people in the Region have successfully used for over forty years.

Action is being enabled by an informal network of Focal people engaged in mutual-help, self-heal, self-help towards wellbeing. This network, known by the name 'Laceweb' has been evolving among Focal people in remote and rural areas for over forty years.

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

People from the Laceweb who have supported themselves and other locals in self help healing on many occasions, may be available to support East Timorese, Bougainvillian and other Focal survivors of torture and trauma in the Region. The Laceweb is not connected with any political group, faction or religion. They respect spiritual and cultural diversity. Laceweb healing ways may form a basis for evolving culturally appropriate healing action throughout the Region.

The Laceweb is discovering that traumatised people may provide a healing support to each other as part of a healing community. It is mutual-help and 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 Regional network, and thus support may grow exponentially. Extensive historical and research material on the Laceweb is available. This has been prepared in part by a Laceweb person towards his Ph.D. research into the Laceweb and its participatory self help model(s).

An evolving voluntary self help network among Focal people in the Region holds forth the possibility of placing healing and nurturing micro-experiences and behaviours out in the local communities where they may be spread and incorporated into every aspect of daily life.

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

Following healing gatherings and discussions over a number of years between Laceweb enablers, Australian Indigenous/disadvantaged small minorities - East Timorese, Bougainvillians and others - 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:

  • Peacehealing
  • Identifying specific issues to be resolved
  • Establishing rapport
  • Gaining acceptance of the healing role
  • Feeling safe again
  • Using a person's psycho-social resources
  • Using healing micro-experiences
  • Enabling well-being resources
  • Empowering well-being
  • Resolving the effects of abuse
  • Healing grief, shame and loss
  • Letting go 'war zone' mentality
  • Healing play, games, fantasy and fun


The 'participatory self help action' model as we know it, does not meet either the typical funding criteria or the evaluation criteria of the 'service delivery' model. These two models belong in different worlds. To attempt to place a top down service delivery organisation in a watchdog role over us, that uses 'service delivery' criteria to 'ensure we are doing things 'properly', is unacceptable and unworkable in respect of this Plan and the accompanying Micro-proposal. It would inevitably compromise the participatory self help process. Refer Interfacing Complementary Ways.

We would accept a co-vision relationship with others. Co-vision is a concept borrowed from transnational management consulting. It encapsulates contexts were trainers find that feedback from trainees so train and change the trainers, that these trainers then change their training to fit the wisdom of the trainees. The concept equally applies to 'enabling' contexts.

This co-vision relationship may be:

  • Firstly, in respect of ethics and nurturant process, from humanitarian people skilled in self-help action, and
  • Secondly, in developing good healing nurturing results, from Minority/Indigenous academic people skilled in self help action.

We will be fully accountable for funds and have funding monitored by funding bodies.

Evaluation is built into every participatory self help action. The plan is unfolding with evaluation using 'participatory self help' criteria, not 'service delivery' criteria.

The above organic process is resonant with Focal people's healing ways and with 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 by Government and NGO's of participatory self help by Focal people in the Region. The self help healing network is already evolving in the Region. 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 oppressed and war ravaged people, it may well be a major process for confidence building towards caring law, humane democratic community and for consolidating a caring peace.

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 project and the related Micro-Action and be part of an extra-ordinary healing Odyssey.

Other links:


Laceweb - Self-Help Action Supporting Survivors Of Torture And Trauma In Se Asia, Oceania And Australasia - Small Generalisable Actions

Self Help Action Rebuilding Wellbeing - A Micro-Project

Laceweb Home Page


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