About Us

A while back, a client brought me a gift as a way of thanking me for the help that I have given to him over his journey of counselling. He had travelled to a famous lighthouse in Europe. During his visit to the lighthouse he was compelled to buy a replica of it for me because it represented the work that we’ve done together. He told me that lighthouses point you in the right direction and they bring light into the darkness.

He said, “You have been my lighthouse”. I took this as a great honor because lighthouses have always been close to my heart as well. Growing up on an island on the west coast of Canada, we were surrounded by lighthouses. They have always represented peace and safety in my life. So when I researched the symbolism of lighthouses I found this description: “Lighthouses symbolize the way forward and help in navigating our way through rough waters whether those waters be financial, personal, business or spiritual in nature. Nothing else speaks of safety and security in the face of adversity and challenge quite the way a lighthouse does”. So as we were thinking of a name for our Centre, the name Lighthouse was suggested. It fit with my heart and my belief about counselling as a safe space. A place where people are able to face adversity and challenges in their lives and navigate the rough waters to find the way forward. Lighthouse Counselling and Training Centre is built on the foundation of the words from Isaiah 61: 1-4, mainly focusing on 3 essential words…RESTORE, RENEW and REBUILD. We believe that those who are facing challenges in their lives can be restored. We believe that places in our lives that have been devastated can be renewed. And we believe that beauty can rise out of the ashes and lives can be rebuilt.

Our Mission

Our mission is to provide quality professional counselling and training, empowering and equipping individuals, families and organizations. We believe in restoring emotional wellness and renewing and rebuilding relational and personal difficulties in the lives of our clients and students

Our Vision

To see lives transformed through counselling and training

Our Values

Lighthouse Counselling and Training Centre is a professional counselling and training organization with experienced and highly training professional and lay counsellors:

• We value client respect and the individual process of each client. 

• We believe in the provision of good clinical care for all people.

• We believe in the provision of a non-judgemental atmosphere where clients can feel safe, both emotionally and physically. 

• We adhere to the belief that healing is a journey of transformation, not a destination. 

• We believe in imparting knowledge and skills to develop capable lay counsellors who can assist in the healing and transformation of the nation of Rwanda.

Our Team

Kelly Johnson-Gahaya,(M.A).

Managing Director and Certified Professional Counsellor

Kelly is Certified Professional Counselor, an empathetic and active listener who is very focused on helping people move beyond the problems in their lives that impact their daily living. She is passionate about teaching counseling and empowering her students to use their new found skills to help others. She believes in the equality of all persons and the provision of good clinical care for each client that she sees. She holds a Master’s degree in Counselling from Providence University and Seminary in Canada. She has over 15 years of experience working as a therapist. Her specialty is couples therapy, Trauma and mental health work. However, she also provides counseling in a variety of other areas.

Marvin Tumwesigye

Business Manager

Marvin, has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences and Business. He is the Business Manager for Lighthouse. He is passionate about working at our social enterprise because it comes with a sense of giving back to the community through what he does. Improving the quality of life of other people is something he feels strongly about. This for him also involves the counseling part of sojourning with clients and helping them solve their problems. Marvin is a graduate from our applied counselling program and has known for many years that counseling is something he should pursue. He is passionate about seeing people move forward in their lives both emotionally and spiritually. He loves being a part of empowering people to make lasting decisions about their life issues.

Catherine Gitau

Play Therapist

Children don’t say, “I had a hard day, can we talk?” They say, “Will you play with me?” – Lawrence Cohen The Play Therapist and Filial Play Coach is Catherine. She is a qualified Early Childhood teacher with over 16 years teaching experience in Australia, Kenya and Rwanda. She became interested in Play Therapy after she began teaching children in Out of Home (Foster) Care & realised that her students needed more support than she could offer as a teacher. To date she has completed more than 500 practice hours of Play Therapy in both school settings and in private practice. She holds a Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood) from Charles Sturt University (Australia), and a Postgraduate Diploma in Practice Based Play Therapy (with Distinction) from Canterbury Christ Church University (UK). In addition, she is a Filial Play Coach under Play Therapy International. Catherine is passionate about the way play impacts every aspect of a child’s life. Catherine is a registered member of Play Therapy International, practicing under their strict ethical framework & clinical supervision requirements.

Josee Rwambara

Administrative Assistant

Josee is an enthusiastic and dedicated young woman. She is the Administrative Assistant at Lighthouse. She is responsible for all the client scheduling and student registration. Josee has a Bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Management with a concentration in global perspectives from Southern New Hampshire University under the Kepler Program. She is passionate about healthcare and has always enjoyed helping people. Recently, she completed our 6 month applied counselling course and developed skills in the area of lay counselling. She offers great support to our clients and to our senior management team.

Isabelle Musafiri, (B.A.),(M.A).

Child and Youth Counsellor

Isabelle, is the Child and Youth Counsellor for Lighthouse. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work (Buena Vista University, USA) and a Master’s Degree in Psychology (North Central University, USA). Isabelle has years of experience working with individuals with intellectual disabilities as a service provider. She has also worked as a residential therapist with children between the ages of 6 and 18 with a mental health diagnosis and a history of trauma. Working in this field has afforded Isabelle the opportunity to learn and grow both personally and professionally. She is passionate about the role she plays in the lives of others through guidance and empowerment and finds it rewarding being able to help people create change.

Emily Walsh LCSW, MSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker – Individual and Family Counsellor

Emily is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (in the US) and has the bulk of her experience working with children and adults with depression, anxiety and trauma. She holds a master’s degree in social work from New York University and received her undergraduate degree in social work from Messiah College. Emily especially enjoys working with couples to strengthen their relationships and is certified as a Prepare/ Enrich facilitator, an in-depth relationship and personality assessment tool, which she uses to help expedite and increase the effectiveness of marriage or partner counselling. Emily is a mother of three and has experience working with parents to navigate parenting challenges and difficult child behaviors.

A brief introductory video From Emily

Barbara. B Campbel

Counsellor

Barbara. B Campbell is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Counseling & Psychology at Mount Kenya University in Nairobi. She’s specializing in couple therapy and individual counselling. Barbara is an intern Counselor at Lighthouse and she is passionate about helping couples and individuals to thrive in their relationships and lives through journeying with them in their pain as they make positive changes that they want.  Barbara is also a graduate from our applied counseling program and she envisions to continue with her journey in counselling as soon as she completes her Masters.  

Dickson Butera

Youth Counsellor

“Dickson Butera is a Youth Counsellor at Lighthouse. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Sciences in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Rochester, USA. He worked as a research assistant at Youth Risk and Resilience Lab, where he spent a year researching psychological processes that lead to suicide and self-harm, with the goal to better identify and predict associated behaviors, and to improve intervention and prevention. He is passionate about mental health and the well-being of all people, especially the youth. He believes that there’s no better time to work towards growth and change than when it’s the most natural.” .