Slum and Rural Health Initiative Network (SRHIN) recently launched a first-of-its-kind Friendship Tent at the New Kuchingoro IDP camp, Abuja northern Nigeria. The Friendship Tent is a groundbreaking innovation that is meant to cater to the mental health and other health-related services of internally displaced persons at the camp. The Friendship Tent is an integral part of the BraveHeart Project. The BraveHeart Project is a community-led project that involves providing and promoting health information and services through mental health therapy, health advocacy program, and other interventions to IDP camps. The project seeks to endow young people with digital and entrepreneurship skills which will be harnessed for their profit.
In something of a welcome address, SRHIN’S founder and executive director Dr. Isaac Olufadewa referred to beneficiaries as champions whilst he cheered on a chant with the residents. In a similar address, Miracle Adesina the Country Coordinator of SRHIN gave insights into mental health and the Friendship Tent. He said, “the mental health of IDPs have been an issue unattended to over the years but SRHIN through a noteworthy partnership is making available to all regardless of class or strata, age, gender or whatsoever bias”.
Whilst commending the kind gesture of Slum and Rural Health Initiative Network, Mr. Luka, the primary school headmaster at the camp says “many people here are depressed because of the things they faced trying to run for our lives during the Boko Haram attack but thank GOD for this kind thing. We now have a place to come and get help. He further said, “the people that SRHIN trained in mental health issues will be very helpful and useful for us here”.
As the solar-paneled Friendship Tent stood graciously in the camp premises with graffiti that reads “YOU ARE NOT ALONE”, its launching ceremony featured cultural dances of the Lafda tribe, recitation on mental health, and dance competition amongst young beneficiaries. After which relief packages inclusive of handwashing, sanitation items, as well as food packages, were distributed to the IDPs with the help of volunteers who availed themselves for the project. Dr. Isaac, SRHIN’S executive director however led the beneficiaries to a thank you chorus to her funders- Grand Challenges Canada, UKAID, Global Affairs Canada, National Institute of Health Research, Reckitt Benckiser to mention a few. The ceremony ended after a closing prayer followed by rounds of photographs.