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Supportive Activists’ Foundation (SAF)

My Magazine 2022/10
3 min
Author: Solomon Correa
Supportive Activist's Foundation is a mental health charity organization founded in 2016 by Solomon Correa to support people with mental ill-health and the needy. The foundation has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Health and has extended its project to Senegal, Guinea Bissau and India.

Solomon saw an increase in the number of people with mental ill-health disorders walking the streets. The magnitude of the suffering, the stigma and discrimination of the victims without proper clothing, nutrition or care.

˝We have to develop the ability, as a team, to manage our emotions and focus our energy on breaking down the causes of the suffering and translate this into preventative interventions whilst also offering support to those that already have symptoms. Our community and the government health system does not prioritise the need for investment in mental health and well-being because they do not appreciate the long-term human and financial cost that this neglect will have on our country's future. The World Health Organization forecasted that in 2030 depression will be the leading none communicable disease.˝

This became the motive and purpose of the organization. They began to do projects like the Home Care Support Program. School's Mental Health Awareness, Community Mental Health Awareness, Volunteer Capacity Building, Psychodrama, Media Team and Safe Delivery.

The Home Care Support Program is a system that aims to care for people with mental ill-health in homes. This program helps break down the chain of client’s relapse, educates and supports the client’s career.

Currently, 105 clients have benefited from the Home Care Program. Educational events are held regularly. Most of the victims comment on the organization, saying it is their first time experiencing compassion, friendship and kindness from anyone in their community; many times, this includes their own family.

The School Mental Health Awareness Project also concentrates on educating students to understand mental health and mental illness, what factors contribute to the illness, and where to access help. It is educating them about the stigma and discrimination against a mental ill health person. The main goal of the Community Mental Health Awareness Program is to raise awareness amongst community members about the importance of proper care for people with behaviour disorders with the involvement of village heads, VDCs and Imams to discourage mental health stigma.

Psycho Drama Project has been a very effective tool in educating communities. This is a project where they build volunteers to be actors and actresses and develop educational videos.
They also do capacity building for their volunteers. Constant training of their volunteers is crucial for professional voluntary service delivery.

Their vision is to build the first voluntary Mental Health & Wellbeing Centre in The Gambia. The Centre shall have a training hall, where primary health education can be done. The hall shall be open for the partner's organization to conduct activities such as workshops, forums, and training. Primarily, the Centre will provide clients with a safe place to go to with an opportunity of companionship, having a shower, clean clothes and some food. Volunteers would provide them with psychosocial support and case management service.

Currently, they do not have a physical space where activities can be coordinated. They hope to partner with more NGOs, private sectors and voluntary organizations to meet their goals.

The SAF Gambia also organizes events that bring people with special needs together with volunteers and invite community members and schools to attend and share love and mutual care towards them. Music, dance and drama are used as means of education, participation and entertainment.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Solomon Correa
The Founder of SAF
Solomon is a Gambian youth of 29 years who studies business and describes himself as an addiction professional, activists, advocate, youth leader, martial artists, and humanitarian. He is currently a nominated candidate at the African Judo union for the position of director and coaching. A lead head for training and outreach at the Africa Mental Health Consortium (AMHEC). He likes adventures, swimming, meditation, and critical thinking. His interest in life is serving and building people, giving hope to the hopeless and creating meaningful development. This puts a smile on his face always.

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