Organisers: Jatakendeya Association and the Miséricordie Sans Frontière Association.

Collaborating organisation: Ramon Molinas Foundation.

Dates: 01/10/2022 – 30/09/2023.

 

Offering a space which promotes psychosocial rehabilitation, social reintegration, care and promoting awareness

The Ramon Molinas Foundation is collaborating with the Jatakendeya Association with the aim of supporting the Psychosocial rehabilitation centre for people with neurodiversity and/or mental illness located in the Togolese region of Yoto. The centre, co-founded in 2014 together with the Miséricordie Sans Frontière Association, aims to promote the psychosocial rehabilitation, social reintegration and care of people with neurodiversity and/or mental illness, as well as raising public awareness.

Initially set up to cover the housing, good and hygiene needs of the residents, the complex has a main house with four bedrooms, an additional residence made up of five rooms, a three-room hostel, a school and a mill, among other rooms and services. Aside from the infrastructure, currently the centre provides four programmes: a psychosocial rehabilitation programme, a mental health programme, an awareness programme and a community services programme.

The psychosocial rehabilitation programme is an initiative aimed at children, young people, and adults to offer them an education adapted to their needs and encourage the personal autonomy and skills to help them to develop better relationships with their families and potential employers. A total of 22 participants in the programme live in the residential centre and 3 visit the centre on a daily basis. The mental health programme is an initiative that provides psychological and psychiatric treatment to people who do not have the financial resources to access services of this kind. More than 700 people benefit from this programme, either by using the services on the premises of the centre itself or at the Ospedale Suore della Divina Misericordia, located in the town of Kouvé.

With regards to the community services programme, the Jatakendeya Association and its local counterpart provide services to the local community such as supplying basic necessities and services. Meanwhile, in the awareness programme, the organisation’s mission focuses on the fight against stigma and defending the rights of people with neurodiversity and/or mental illness.

 

The stigma of mental illness in Africa

According to the Atlas of Mental Health published by the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 10% of Africans suffer from some type of mental illness, although the budget allocated by countries on the African continent to this area of health is almost non-existent. In fact, the WHO itself recommends that countries provide one psychiatrist for every 5,000 inhabitants – but most African countries have just one for every 100,000 inhabitants.

Likewise, the lack of adequate policies to treat mental illness is accompanied by severe social stigma. The majority of people with neurodiversity and/or mental illness, in Africa, are poorly cared for, discriminated against and excluded from the community, abandoned by the families and/or interned in prayer camps.

Mental illness includes a broad spectrum of neurological and psychotic disorders. The former affects the central and peripheral nervous systems, the most frequent being dementia, stroke, or multiple sclerosis. By contrast, psychotic disorders cause a distortion in the perception of reality, characterised by the appearance of abnormal ideas and perceptions including depression, phobias, schizophrenia or bipolar disorders among others.

 

The Jatakendeya Association, an organisation providing comprehensive care in the biopsychosocial sphere of the medical field

In Mandinka, a language spoken by 13 million people in West Africa, ‘jatakendeya’ means to be recovering from an illness and feeling like oneself again. The organisation was created in 2012 with the aim of promoting comprehensive care for patients based on a biopsychosocial model in the health field, offering activities that assist in the social and labour reintegration of people at risk of social exclusion, and reducing the stigma which exists towards people with neurodiversity and/or mental illness. Since that point forward, the Jatakendeya Association has allocated all its resources to mostly local initiatives across Africa.

 

Links of interest:

Jatakendeya Association website.