We wanted to discover more about Occupational therapy, so we met the person who is doing occupational therapy activities at the Center St John of God. His name is Evrard.
The 11th September, in the morning, we found Evrard in a room at St John of God hospital doing sports activities with 3 patients.
Evrard is an animator in a medical centre in community-health against Malaria and Tuberculosis. He also works with a Non Governmental Organism to promote vaccination.
First of all, I asked him what occupational therapy is. He describes occupational therapy as a whole range of activities in order to bring the sick back to them.
According to him, the most important thing in occupational therapy is to keep the person occupied. If she is occupied, if she has activities to do, she is more likely to stay healthy.
Sports are very good for people with disorders. Most occupational therapy’s patients are former patients. Those who are hospitalized are not often in good physical health, or they don’t have the motivation to do activities.
Evrard works as a volunteer at the centre for 3 years. First he helped as an assistant, now he is doing all activities related to sport and strength training. With his assistant they bought some equipment to do activities. He comes 3 or 4 times a week to teach.
Occupational therapy is not only sport or training. At the centre, there are gardening, farming, taking care of the animals (pigs and chickens), cooking, weaving, sewing, reading at the library etc…
All activities are possible. At the centre they would like to offer more, but they need volunteers to organize it. Lot of outpatients are asking for activities.
For example, for the cooking activity the centre provides food (from the vegetable garden) or buys it, and the patients cook together and then they also eat together. Through this activity, they learn how to cook, they spend and share good moments. Furthermore, they develop skills like communication and teamwork.
One big project Evrard is trying to plan is a big tour in Kpalimé with stabilized patients. According to him it can be very rewarding for the patients to do an outside activity and in group. They would go hiking in the forest, they would discover nature and plants, and beautiful waterfalls. But unfortunately to realise this activity they need money, and for the moment they don’t have enough for new occupational therapy activities.