One of my mentors the late, Sir Herbert U Osoka, introduced me to Amaudo’s Management team while I was living in Umuahia, Abia State and operating as lay President Methodist Church Nigeria, Item Diocese. After spending a lunch-time with him in his house in Umuahia, celebrating his 90thbirthday, he quickly called Dame Nkechi Colwill telling her that he has gotten a replacement member for the Amaudo Management Committee. This happened around 2004 and since then till today I have been a member of the Management Committee and am currently the Chairman and a Member of the Board.
I fitted into the Amaudo vision easily because of my training in Huggai Institute Leadership Program where I was inspired to pursue social work and care giving Evangelism. I embraced Amaudo as a platform to pursue my dream. Thank God for the opportunity of serving in Amaudo Itumbauzo for the past fifteen years. It gives me extra joy and fulfillment to see homeless residents undergo rehabilitation and find meaning for life. A striking experience is one of our residents who was discharged from Amaudo Itumbauzo, he went to University after treatment, to complete his studies in law. Today he has graduated from law school as the overall best student. To God be the glory!
Amaudo is very unique as a rehabilitation centre, I have visited Psychiatric centres in Abia and Anambra State. I saw patients chained and pinned to the ground and the centres were surrounded by high walls and fences. Amaudo, it is a centre without walls, we scarcely have escapees and more so, people are not chained. Freedom is entrenched in the modus Operandi of Amaudo.
One of the striking projects that excites me in Amaudo is the Self-Help Group (SHG), an advocacy group of the discharged members which supports them to be fully integrated in the community. They are given soft loans to do business and repay after a time. The project is a paradigm shift from the previous cases where we experienced frequent relapse after discharge.
I have challenged the communities, industries, political groups to continue to support Amaudo which has constantly removed the homeless and those with mental health needs off our streets. Amaudo has rehabilitated hundreds of people with mental illness and united them with their families. Just like Methodist Church, other churches and groups should support Amaudo to fulfill her mission in serving humanity.
Finally, the Free Mobile Community Mental Health Care and Awareness Program should be pursued vigorously as it targets the very poor who have mental health needs in remote communities. It engages community leaders and local health workers to reduce stigmatization, a major setback, and increase referrals to community mental health clinics.
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