This project facilitates the employment of epilepsy patients in local reforestation and food production for the betterment of the environment, community and the patient.
In Africa it is generally believed that people with epilepsy are not fit for employment. They are often considered useless and a burden to their families. However, in reality, the only barrier to employment for a treated epilepsy patient is the social stigma surrounding their condition. Providing patients with employment allows them to contribute to their family income, making them a respected part of the community which greatly increases their quality of life.
The pilot project, which ran from 2006 to 2010 and employed epilepsy patients to work in reforestation and food production at Kasita Seminary School in Mahenge. At various times, over the past four years, ten patients where provided with meaningful employment over a period of six months. Over this time, patients prove to their community and themselves their ability to work and contribute. After six months, rehabilitated patients join the common labor pool to compete with other members of the community for employment and ten new patients are selected for rehabilitation.
The great success of the project is best described by the patients employer, Fr. Placid in the following letter from Mahenge:
“To the workers the project has also become very successful. They can now dress well and feed themselves very well. People admire them now. They look physically very healthy. You will see when you come, their attendance at work is very good. They are efficient and effective as well. The workers have become helping people in their families in various
aspects. Some are now building their own houses, for themselves and family. Some also have farms which they can cultivate. A certain amount of the salary they get is used for cultivating their farms. Apart from that, they dress very well nowadays. Anorda I heard,
is having a fiance, maybe she will marry him. They also cooperate very well among themselves and other workers working at Kasita Seminary. In fact we thank God and we thank you very much for your charitable support to our people. Not even once I had any lament from the parents due to the work they are doing. This shows that, they are comfortable and happy to see that their sons and daughters have employment. If they could not be happy, they would riot and stop them. At the end of the month they also expect to receive something from them. I am happy to see that, they are now becoming very good people than expected before. They are very cheerful and social people. They can
now attend various feasts we are having here at Kasita. We eat, drink and dance with them together.”
We are currently working to expand and build on the success of the pilot project. Local institutions and government are interested in employing patients providing opportunities to expand our capacity for patient participation. If you would like to help remove the debilitating stigma surrounding epilepsy in Africa while contributing to the local food supply and reforestation efforts, click here.