Awka – It was joy overflow in Awka, Anambra State Capital, as twelve persons who were picked up on Anambra streets as mentally deranged and brought to the Anambra State Home for the Mentally Challenged, Nteje finally found their way home after undergoing full recovery processes at the centre.
The twelve persons, including four women and eight men, all from states outside Anambra State, were picked while wandering popular streets in the state and brought to the centre where their full rehabilitation procedures began.
The rehabilitation centre is a social work arm under the Anambra State Ministry of Social Welfare, Children and Women Affairs, but enjoys major support and partnership with the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative CAFE, a charity organization run by wife of the governor of Anambra State, Dr (Mrs) Ebelechukwu Obiano.
Since its formal establishment in January, 2015, the centre has rehabilitated a total of one hundred and forty-two persons, of which eighty percent of them are not indigenes of Anambra State.
At a ceremony at Professor Dora Akunyili Women Development Centre, Awka, the rehabilitated persons were also given household materials, foods, cash and equipment to start off any of the vocations they had learned at the centre.
The current persons are from Osun, Kwara, Enugu, Rivers, Imo and Ebonyi states.
Speaking at the event, the wife of the governor of Anambra State and founder of the charity organization, Caring Family Enhancement Initiative, CAFE, Dr (Mrs) Ebelechukwu Obiano expressed excitement with the achievements of the centre over the past six years, insisting that every human deserves love irrespective of mental or social state.
Osodieme also said that it was important that the society see those with mental health challenges as redeemable and not stigmatize them.
According to her, having learned different skills while at the centre, the rehabilitated persons would be able to cater for themselves and contribute to their family’s and society’s development.
“It would have been wrong for us not to have tried to rehabilitate these persons. Where we are today with these rehabilitated persons is the outcome of our resolve to continue to do the right thing and strive to change negative situations through the help of God. I recall when we brought the first batch of persons and a lot of people thought it was not possible. Today, we celebrate not just their successful rehabilitation but the fact that we are empowering them to start life all over again,” the Anambra First Lady said.
The Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly, Right Hon Uchenna Okafor, said what stands out in the governor’s wife’s charity attitude is her disregard for class, religion and ethnicity, observing that the fact that none of the rehabilitated persons were from Anambra State says something unique about character.
In her speech, the Anambra State Commissioner for Social Welfare, Children and Women Affairs Lady Ndidi Mezue, noted that the current new look of the centre was as a result of the governor’s wife’s recommendation, including the setting up of a sick bay and skill acquisition centre, and added that Dr (Mrs) Obiano’s infectious kindness stands tall among all charity stories.
Some of the rehabilitated persons, Mr Ernest Eze from Nsukka in Enugu State and Chinyere Okonkwo from Awgu in Enugu State said the love shown to them at the centre even though they were not from Anambra State was deep, and prayed for the governor’s wife, whom they described as a woman with incomparable compassion.