Thursday, August 28, 2008

Responsibility & Acceptance

Responsibility is a loaded word. Where does the line end on responsiblity for our residents? Who is more responsible- the care-givers(direct family members) or the ones who are physically providing care(staff & members of the home). Satish* had been agitated for the last one week, refusing to take his medication and trying to flee the home. While he had escaped a few times, he had been brought back before venturing too far. Aasha has a no lock down facility and does not believe in keeping the residents like prisoners. They are free to go where they please as long as the staff are informed and they come under safety guidelines.
Satish' family was informed about the situation with a request to take him home for a few days. In return, the family pleaded with Aasha to keep him since they were having a family function. A ceremony was being held in their house in which they didn't want Satish to participate. The shocking fact was that the function was for Satish' wife and soon to be born child. Why was he being left out of a ceremony for his child?  Satish was at a functional level at the rehabilitation home a week before this agitation. Cause of his deterioration??????
* Name changed.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

To be

To live as an equal among all
To look up and meet all eyes
To be counted as able
To be complete

The Aasha Story

Aasha is a non-profit organisation promoted and run by families of persons suffering from mental illness. In 1990, a few care-givers came together to create a forum for addressing the needs of the mentally challenged from a nonprofessional point of view i.e through the eyes of the families. These were care-givers who had a sibling, spouse, parent or relative suffering from Schizophrenia and other mental disorders. Grappling with an illness that devastating and as incomprehensible, the care-givers turned to each other to seek comfort.
While initially Aasha started as a organisational meeting ground for care-givers wanting to improve the lives of their own, Aasha today runs a rehabilitation home for 30 people. A safe, clean and healthy living atmosphere is provided along with a structured vocational training and rehabilitation program for the residents. Emphasis is given on improving the quality of their lives.
In the last decade, Aasha has strived to educate family members and people in eradicating the stigma associated with this illness. One of the main objectives is to spread awareness, remove misconceptions and demolish the many myths that have made lives miserable for people connected with this illness.
Today Aasha' success can be attributed to its "rehabilitation through sheltered workshops model". Empowerment through employment in a sheltered environment has given many patients a second chance in life. Abilis Foundation in Finland helped Aasha in starting the first General and Stationary retail store. Recovering patients are employed in the shop and care-giver is present to supervise them. All employees earn wages and incentives. The model is based on the principle that through empowering them in earning a living while also interacting with the public in a sheltered environment will eventually enable them to reenter society and prepare them for a work environment. Today Aasha runs two general stores, one Photocopy shop and a paper cup making store is in the wings. Aasha does not mention "mentally challenged, ill, disabled", anywhere on the name boards of its stores. Empowerment not Pity is the key!
Aasha stands to rehabilitate patients through sheltered workshops and reintegrate them into mainstream society. Aasha is proud of many such individuals who have proved to be an example of its untiring and ultimately single minded goal of a better life.

AASHA Rehabilitation Home in Selaiyur, Chennai #mentalhealth #rehabilitation #recovery #livingwithdignity