28th June – day trip to Tangalle

11Aug08

My boss’s boss came over from India for a weeks visit. This put a bit of pressure on me at work to get my organisational assessment report looking presentable, and gave me a chance to get to know more about the bigger BN picture outside of SL and the expectations of BNSL. As part of the visit we went to Tangalle for a full day meeting, plus 5+ hours driving each way – a long day! The meeting we went to was the Consumer Action Forum, which I’ve mentioned previously – a group of stabilised mentally ill people who are now looking to constitute themselves as an organisation which will implement projects and advocate for the rights and needs of mentally ill people. The meeting was well attended with about 50 people there, and as my boss’s boss was there most of the proceedings were translated, which was good! People have travelled from around the area and update the rest of the group on the work they have been doing. They have been involved in the BN programme which ran for five years in their area, but which now has finished. The members of the group have benefited from BN’s project and become stabilised and some have been able to start earning again. The amazing thing is that they are now continuing on the work of the project voluntarily, so they go and speak to mentally ill people in their area, help them to access medication and encourage the self-help groups. It’s quite humbling and inspiring to sit in the meetings – especially as every now and again someone will get up and sing a song! Can’t quite imagine that happening at any of the steering groups at NES somehow…

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