Treating Trauma with Tigers

A few years ago, our GRN team and partners realized how our recordings could impact children suffering from trauma. When a South African man named Claude entered our lives, opportunity struck.

One of our South African missionaries, Dalene Joubert, knew Claude through her work as a writer. For years, God had been using Claude’s experience as an army chaplain to soften his heart for people who have experienced trauma. When the idea to record a trauma script came about, Dalene knew she had
finally found the man uniquely equipped to write it.

It took Claude a couple of years to write the script, which consisted of 38 stories totaling about four hours in length. The stories address different causes of trauma, including bullying, sexual abuse, loss of a family member and others. Claude designed each recording to help children heal from trauma and relational issues by introducing the gentle love of Jesus.

The script was written in South African English and Afrikaans, and adapted to fit the unique issues faced by the two different groups. A professional voice  actor was hired to read the scripts, and did a masterful job.

Although these unique scripts could be successful just as audio recordings, the opportunity arose to implement them into Tumi Tigers, cuddly stuffed tigers that our GRN team and partners have used to minister to children for the better part of a decade. Claude’s audio recording now lives in a special pouch on every Tumi, allowing for volume control, advancing to the next story, and pausing.

As children in Cape Town have been experiencing the friendship of Tumi, care professionals and even a full police department have been asking for more tigers — because the children they work with can’t get enough of the cuddly talking animal. When a 6-year-old girl who suffered burns to more than 80 percent of her body was distressed, nothing hospital workers did could calm her down. In desperation, the head of the ward allowed her to be given a Tumi. Not only did the young girl calm down when she received Tumi, but also in time she insisted upon being taken to church and having her TV changed to Christian channels.

Tumi also proved helpful for a child who had reverted to a 1-year-old state and wouldn’t respond to adults. After some time with Tumi, the child began to open up to the tiger — then to adults. When another child was given a Tumi while in palliative care, Tumi stayed on the hospital bed until the child’s death a few days later.

Through the simple gift of a stuffed animal with a special recording, God is using Claude’s beautiful words of hope and healing to spread the gospel and introduce children to the healing power of Jesus’ name. ■

Curious to hear one of Tumi’s chats?

Listen to the featured audio, “Tiger Needs” in South African English. All 38 “Tumi chats” can be found in the 5fish app under South Africa: English or from the GRN international website here.

To order a Tumi Tiger or donate a Tumi Tiger for a child in need, call toll free 888.444.7872 and ask for Orders Department. Each tiger with player costs $43.00 plus tax and shipping.