Bangladesh has recently passed the National Mental Healthcare Act 2018, and is about to finalise the breakthrough National Mental Health Strategy. However, resources and investment remain low, with 0.49 mental health caregivers per 100,000 population. In this backdrop, how can mental health be destigmatised and be brought to the doorsteps of everyone?
It is no secret that Uganda’s infrastructure projects are extending beyond the capital city. However, it is a double-edged sword. There exists the ‘invisible’ effect, the dark side of these projects - especially for children and women.
When the rest of the world relates ‘self-defense’ to learning physical, martial arts skills, what does it mean for young girls from a displaced community, which also happens to be the world’s most persecuted minority? Do they realise that raising voices can be one of the most critical tools in their self-defence kits? Our social workers have begun empowering adolescent girls from the Rohingya community by creating awareness of their own agency.
Deep inside the chaotic makeshift settlements of Kutupalong, Cox’s Bazar, is a spacious, shaded, colourful place. A bamboo structure with handmade decorations hanging from the walls. Curious onlookers gather outside the thatched windows, attracted by the rhythm.
To create a more fluid space in the classroom, where learning is not hierarchical, lessons on sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender (SRHRG) and psychosocial counselling are designed to be more art and activity-centric at SSCOPE schools. These schools are designed by the Institute of Educational Development of BRAC University to address the high level of dropout at secondary schools.
In some Bangladeshi schools, talking about problems is getting easier, and it’s about time. Especially when more than half of the students drop out of school once they complete their primary education. Various social pressures faced by adolescents contribute to the high level of dropouts.
Right after the Rana Plaza collapse, a special committee from the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Office decided that BRAC would assist in the rehabilitation of amputation survivors. Specialising in upper limb prosthetics support, BRAC’s limb and brace centre (BLBC) has been providing these services, frequently working with the government and other NGOs to reach those who have lost limbs through accidents and diseases.
Kabir Mollah was pulled out from under the remains of Rana Plaza four days after the collapse. Now every time he goes into a high-rise building, he gets anxious. Shiuli Khanom was also rescued after four days. “Even though I survived, I felt hopeless,” she says. “I couldn’t sleep. I had so many thoughts and worries. I was shaken and afraid and also physically weak.”
Whether it is the globally mourned celebrity deaths like that of Robin Williams’, or the shocking Rana Plaza tragedy occurring close to heart, recent news at both home and abroad have sparked global conversations on the importance of prioritising mental health at multiple forefronts. BRAC, a global leader in tackling poverty through social development, has been quick to jump in on the bandwagon.