My name is Esther. As a young girl, I grew up with lots of hope in my life. I attended primary and secondary schools. I became mentally ill and my life turned upside down. I faced stigma and discrimination as a result of the illness. I could not continue my education. My family took me to the Amaudo Community Mental Health Clinic in my local council area where I received treatment and I became mentally stable. I visited the clinic every month for my mental health review with the psychiatric nurse. The payment for the cost of my monthly medication was made by my parents.
Eventually, my parents became old and the cost of my livelihood and my monthly medication became a burden on my family.
One day my Psychiatric Nurse informed me that Amaudo has introduced the Self-Help Group for people who have a mental health problem and I was invited to the meeting. I felt reluctant to attend the meeting because I did not want to be exposed to people who will stigmatize me because of my illness but I attended the meeting at last.
At the meeting, I saw other people with a mental health problem and their caregivers. The other people at the meeting were Amaudo staffs who facilitated the Self-Help Group meeting. I felt safe because I did not see anyone who will stigmatize me.
When we have registered our names and the Self-Help Group was formed. Amaudo organized training for us on "Micro Finance Credit and Setting up Small Business for Livelihood". The training me to know that I can still do something to earn a living instead of depending on my family and society.
Meanwhile, Amaudo had promised to give small loans to any member of Self-Help Group who has a business idea and passion to start the business.
I indicated interest to start a small shop where I will sell some consumables like soap, toothpaste, toilet rolls, biscuits. Soft drinks etc.
I was given the sum of Thirty Thousand Naira by Amaudo as a loan to start the business. I successfully started the small shop for consumables (provisions).
I did very well in the shop and paid back the loan I received from Amaudo because it was a revolving loan and I was qualified to receive another loan the next year and this time I was given Fifty Thousand Naira.
Presently my shop is doing very well, and I can provide my basic needs and pay for my monthly medication. I do not have to depend on my family or go and beg people for money for my livelihood. I have gained some respect from the community because people come to my shop to purchase items. They do not see me again as someone who cannot do anything for my self because of my illness. I am mentally stable, and I go for my monthly mental health review with my nurse.
I am very grateful to Amaudo for changing my life.
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