Helping Women Cope with Violence and Trauma in East Africa and Beyond

Jasmyn Burdsall ’20 examines the root causes and its lasting effects on women's lives.

“Trauma creates a lot of cognitive barriers to learning and development,” says Jasmyn Burdsall ’20, whose Miller Center fellowship helped bring culturally sensitive, community-based trauma management tools to young women in Uganda.

Jasmyn and co-fellow Nick Carson ’21 partnered with KadAfrica—a socially-driven fruit farming agribusiness providing training and sustainable livelihoods for young women in East Africa—to design a trauma management curriculum tailored specifically to the out-of-school girls and refugee populations KadAfrica serves. “I’m incredibly excited that Nick and I developed tools to foster healing and community for young women who have experienced family violence, loss, forced displacement, and other traumatic events.”

Drawing from her experiences as a member of Montana’s Blackfoot tribe, Jasmyn is committed to reducing sexual assault and developing trauma management solutions for Native women — 56% of whom have experienced sexual violence in their lifetimes, according to a 2016 US Department of Justice study.

Earlier this year, Stanford University named Jasmyn a Knight-Hennessy Scholar, a prestigious award that will enable her to pursue her Master’s degree in Community Health and Prevention Research. She plans to continue investigating the root causes of violence among marginalized populations while developing evidence-based strategies to effectively address it.

Going forward, Jasmyn envisions launching a global social enterprise to train organizations to reduce the effects of trauma while helping women access critical tools that improve their quality of life and independence. “Miller Center exposed me to social entrepreneurship as a way to address multidimensional social justice issues, like violence and trauma, in a sustainable and ethical way,” she explains.  

While bridging her personal and professional passions has been a “winding road,” she credits Miller Center with giving her the tools, training, and inspiration to develop practical, scalable solutions where they’re needed most. “Indigenous people and marginalized communities are especially poorly served by current trauma care,” she explains, “so it’s extremely gratifying to continue building on the work I began at SCU.”

 

Mar 2, 2021
Campaign, campnews