With the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic taking a toll on the mental health of people in Eswatini, we saw it fitting to raise awareness on mental health in an effort to destigmatize issues around mental health . The campaign consists of several activities aimed at different demographics, with the Open up Challenge focusing more on the youth. It is designed to inspire the youth to open up about their mental health issues and seek help . Showcasing videos of some of Eswatini's young influential individuals as well as our staff members sharing their experience with mental health issues gives evidence that we all experience some issues with our mental health.
Here2Talk campaign funded by the UK High Commission in Mbabane
Funding from the UK High Commission gave us an opportunity to further reduce stigma and alter misconceptions associated with mental illness, as well as enhance mental health well-being support for emaSwati, by providing mental health awareness and services through Psychological First Aid community counselors in rural communities. The counselors will provide provide first-line psychosocial support for people affected by crisis events, to decrease the likelihood of mental health issues and complex trauma at a later stage, as well as detect mental health disruptions early.
MENTAL HEALTH PODCAST
The first episode of our podcast focused on the impact that Gender Based Violence(GBV) has on our mental health. Our trauma counselor, joined by two guests in the discussion, looked at the many forms of GBV and it's consequences in relation to mental health.
Awarded to us by the Queens Commonwealth Trust, the grant ensured our continued support to some of the marginalized communities in the country which were also affected by the pandemic the most.
We take a look at some of the key factors of suicidal behavior and how to help prevent suicide in different social environments.More information on suicide prevention is available here: bit.ly/35AkLvA
FOOD DISTRIBUTION AT MANGWANENI,MANZINI
Through the Covid 19 Emergency Grants Programme from the Queen's Commonwealth Trust, we were able to provide food for 70 households which included 20 people living with disabilities.
#fooddistribution #coronavirusupdate #commonwealthtrust
Friend of the Phumelela Project Jack "Jally" Gallie is doing a DJ set in aid of the project. Do tune in if you can.
Please check out our latest video highlighting all the work we have been doing sine the outbreak of Covid 19.
Even though there is a lockdown due to #COVID19 and our office is closed, we still try to assist our beneficiaries in the best way possible. Our counsellor Nomthandazo conducts session via the phone from her home. She is doing this in a separate room or outside to ensure confidentiality! #counselingduringcovid19 #mentalhealth
Many vulnerable people in Eswatini do not have access to soap and sanitizers to help prevent the spread of #COVID19. Through a very generous donation from the Soap Shop in Manzini, we were able to assist residents of Mangwaneni (a local township) with these essentials. The community authorities were extremely helpful by identifying elderly and extremely vulnerable people! Siyabonga kakhulu!! #staysafe #communitysupport #COVID19
Phumelela Project is committed to assist our beneficiaries during this difficult time. We have received a very generous donation of soap and sanitizer products from The Soap Shop in Manzini. As most of the vulnerable people we try to help have little or no access to soap etc., we will work with the local communities to distribute these products. We will also focus on the elderly residents and how to distribute them safely for all those involved. #COVID19 #staysafe
As of the 21st March 2020 The Phumelela Projects office in Manzini is closed. All staff we be working from home until further notice. We will be conducting all counselling via the internet and telephone. In this very difficult time we are doing everything possible to maintain as much of our service as we can. Please check back for updates. Stay safe. Stay at home. Save lives.
John (not his real name) was addicted to alcohol for a long time. He joined Phumelela in 2016 and we were able to refer him to a local Rehab Centre (the only one in Eswatini). After finishing the one year program, he was able to get a job at a local company. Phumelela further assisted him in getting a drivers license, so he is able to work as a driver for the company. He reported that he is still sober, living independently in his own flat. Help continue Phumelela's vital work in supporting young people like John by making a donation today: https://www.gofundme.com/phumelelaproject-help-me-on-my-way
The Kingdom of Eswatini is a source and transit destination country for men, women and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Most victims are from poor communities. Phumelela identified 2 young girls, who were forced to sell their bodies after school. During counselling sessions, they reported being approached by a woman in an unmarked car to join her "business" in South Africa. It turned out the girls were in high risk of being sex trafficked. Together with the Government Social Welfare Department and their guardians, the girls were safely placed in a home for abused girls. There, they will be able to continue school and recover from their traumatic experiences. #stophumantrafficking #stoprape #stopsextrafficking
Phumelela Project delivers Gender Based Violence and Drug and Substance Abuse awareness talks to school children.
In March 2019, Phumelela Project facilitated two awareness sessions on Gender Based Violence and Drug and Substance abuse. We were invited to Hillside Primary School in Manzini, where our trained child counsellor, Nomthandazo Dlamini, facilitated the programme to 500 Grade 3 to Grade 7 pupils. We also worked with the Domestic Violence Unit from the Royal eSwatini Police Service, who educated the children about Human Trafficking and dangers and risks involved. These joint initiatives has enabled us to develop a relationship with the police, and now we receive referrals from them.
Nomthandazo also delivered a talk to teachers about Drug and Substance Abuse at Mafutseni Community School. Phumelela will continue to work with the schools mentioned, and provide counselling sessions to pupils who are already using drugs, or are at risk of using drugs in the future.
In April 2019, we joined a cluster of civil society organisations engaged in youth and children's rights organised by COSPE Swaziland. COSPE is a private lay and non-profit organisation founded in 1983 to ensure fair and sustainable development, human rights, peace and justice.
The day focussed on ensuring that all children are registered at birth:
A child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and the right to be a full citizen. The registration of birth, guarantee the access to essential services, such as health, education and social welfare.
Other organisations we are working with on this are: Luvatsi, Swaziland National Youth Network, SOS Children Villages Eswatini, Flas Eswatini, Swaziland National Union of Students, Swaziland National Association of Teachers and FSEJ.
The EU Ambassador Esmeralda Hernandez also joined the launch.
Phumelela Project helps many young people in Eswatini, including survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.
This is the story of a 22-year-old woman the Phumelela Project has recently been working with. Her story begins in 2018 when she was raped by her abusive father in her own home. She immediately reported the case to the police. After doing so she was disowned by the rest of her family and forced out of her family home.
Distraught and now homeless, she went to stay with an Aunt & Uncle who secretly took her in, not wanting the other family members to know they were sheltering her. After a few days the Uncle tried to forcibly have sex with her, so once again she was left with no choice but to flee.
A complete stranger offered her shelter, and gave her the opportunity to work in a bar she owned. However, after a short time, the owner of the bar tried to make her sleep with the men who frequented the establishment. This is when Phumelela Project heard about her case and intervened.
The young woman received counselling from the Phumelela Project, but it was clear that she was in dire need of escaping her desperate living conditions. After confessing that she felt suicidal, the project found the young woman a safe house to live in. She received extensive counselling and once more stable, the project found her work in a restaurant. This gave her economic independence and some stability after an incredibly traumatic period.
She is currently doing well and has found herself a home to live in, whilst still working through the trauma of her recent experiences.
This was a desperate case, where Phumelela Project was able to make an intervention and quite possible save a young person's life. Through compassion and care she is now applying for college and will also be helping other victims of gender based violence with the Phumelela Project.
This is just one of the many cases the project deals with on a daily basis. f you can, please donate so we can continue our vital work.