A woman has returned from Sarajevo where she spent two weeks helping victims of the Bosnian War.
Spiritual healer Norah Ramsay, 57, of St Mary’s Street, Stamford, completed a two-week voluntary work placement in the Bosnian capital, assisting people who suffered physically, mentally and emotionally during the 1990s conflict.
She was working with Healing Hands Network, a small UK charity that provides complementary therapies, including massage, reiki, aromatherapy and reflexology.
Norah says such therapies can help heal the mind as well as the body, allowing people to rebuild their lives and move on.
“Many of the network’s clients report that their flashbacks have lessened, that they have been able to sleep for the first time in years and that their physical pain, which is often a symptom of their emotional trauma, has eased,” she said.
The semi-retired therapist used to work as an environmental specialist for a national telecommunications company and became interested in spiritual healing six years ago after having treatment herself.
“This was to help me come to terms with emotional trauma I had experienced in my life,” she said.
“Spiritual healing helped me in ways that conventional medicine could not. It allowed me to find inner peace and to discover that I too had a gift for helping others.
“ I then went on to study and develop this with The Healing Trust,” Norah says.
It was through its magazine that she first read of the Sarajevo project.
Norah raised £750 – half the cost of the placement – through workshops and healing in return for donations. Friends and family also contributed.
She says her fortnight in Sarajevo was memorable and she found it very worthwhile to help people who have suffered so much.
“The hillsides filled with white tombstones bring home the severity of it all – and those are only the graves of the bodies that have yet been found,” she said.
“Overall I saw about 70 patients, either in the clinic in Sarajevo or at outreach centres.
“These people had been held in concentration camps or under house arrest and suffered beatings, torture, rape and humiliation, or were wounded by grenades and shrapnel, or had lost all or most of their loved ones.”
Norah said the patients were grateful and surprisingly tuned in to healing therapies.
“They know from experience it works so well for them,” she said. “I feel really proud to have done something out of my comfort zone.”
Although all treatments were free, Norah said that the therapists never came away empty-handed.
“They would always bring something small, a bar of chocolate or a few plums from their garden,” she said. “They didn’t want to not give us anything.”
Earlier this year the network launched a project to give free treatment to UK troops who have returned from active service and are coping with post traumatic stress disorder. Partners and children of service or ex-service personnel are also included. Anyone who knows someone who might be helped can ring 01885 410620 or visit www.healinghandsnetwork.org.uk
Norah hopes to return to Sarajevo next year. Anyone would like to support her fundraising can donate via www.mycharitypage.com/NorahRamsay or speak to her on 07814 464613.