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The journey of one: Ablavi

Who is Ablavi?
Ablavi is a lady with mental illness . She lived on the streets with her condition. We met her at our Saturday ‘Soup kitchen’ where she asked for our help.

Her father is from Benin Republic and her mother is from Togo. She is now reunited with her family after treatment at St John of God psychiatric hospital, Lomé.

This is her journey.

Ablavi blurred

Week 1: Pick up and Arrival at the hospital

We met Ablavi on our Saturday ‘Soup Kitchen’ in Lomé.
She asked for her help. We asked about her family, and if she would like to reunite with them, she said yes, then we picked her up and took her to Saint John of God hospital at Agoe-Nyive, Lomé.

For the homeless picked off the streets, St John of God hospital assigns a full time carer. The Carer got Ablavi cleaned and fed. Diagnostics and treatment began the same day.

Week 2: Ongoing treatment and diagnostics

After two weeks at the hospital, Ablavi was responding positively to medicine and therapy. They were careful not to ask too many questions of her life in case it triggered trauma and anxiety. This was the case with Ablavi.

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Week 4: Social skill learning

By the fourth week, she had begun to trust those around her and could go out with her Carer and the Director of the Hospital. This would be the first time in a long time that she would see the world wearing proper clothes.

At the hospital activities such as fitness, arts and painting therapy, were part of her treatment. The hospital also has a large animal and vegetable farm available for patients to reconnect with nature.

Week 5: Visitors day

Jennifer, founder of the foundation, met Ablavi the first day on the beach, but had not seen her during her treatment. By week 5, the hospital felt it was a good time for her to meet someone other than her Carer and the Director. She was told who it was and got herself ready by asking for hair to be done and to wear something nice.

The meeting was a very touching moment for all of us, especially the visitors to see her improvement.


Week 6: Shopping

As Ablavi had not used cash whilst on the streets, she was going to have to relearn how to use money which was also part of getting her ready to reintegrate into society. The Carer took her shopping to buy her necessities and the food items she wanted.

Week 8: Friends

She became more conversational, and was willing to make friends. This was the only time she was able to trust and tell her story.

Week 10: Cooking

Ablavi learnt to cook again, the Carer only needed to play a supervisory role now. These skills and interests showed she was ready to go back to her family and into the community.


Week 12: Going back home (Lomé, 26th May 2021)

Ablavi was willing to tell the Director where her family lived. A Social worker and the Director made contact with the family.

She is reunited with her family and now visits the hospital as an outpatient.

It is estimated that we need three months for a full recovery to get one homeless person with mental illness off the streets and reintegrated into society.

Can you help?

We have received different amounts from our donors; it all adds up to make a difference. Nothing is too small. Every little bit helps!

  • Subsidised accommodation per night (CFA 2,000 / €3)
  • Carer per day (CFA 3,000 / €5)
  • Feeding per day (CFA 2,000 / €3)
  • Diagnostic ( as required) (CFA 30,000 / €47)
  • Medical therapy/Counselling/Social work (monthly) (CFA 25,000 / €39)