The Gbm Foundation is also constantly seeking partners, this being one of its objectives.
The Country Director for Cameroon of the Gbm Foundation, was recently on a maiden visit to the US. Among other reasons for the trip, was the consolidation of the status of the Foundation and the search for potential partners.
Meeting Julie Tamler
Julie Tamler and Marie Abanga
Ms Tamler is the founder of the Inclusion Centre for people with disability in Brattleboro Vermont. This is an excerpt of the centre’s description and raison d’etre:
The Inclusion Center is a no fee, drop-in, activity center for and by all people with disabilities and interested community members. We offer activities and classes as well as a safe place to mingle with friends.
And that was exactly what our director witnessed as she participated at their Friday gathering. Ms Tamler had been introduced to her by a dear friend diagnosed and living with Schizophrenia for over 40 years now, and her friend had had nothing but praise for Ms Tamler’s work with the centre.
Inclusion is indispensable to fight stigma
There is no doubt about the prevalence and dehumanizing effects of stigma for persons with disability. Moreover, when this disability has a mental correlation, the stigma is as much as three fold. From the patients themselves who feel hopeless and helpless, from their families in many a case, and even from the medical community. At the Inclusion Centre in Brattleboro, here are some of their mantra:
We at the Inclusion Center
**Accept that life is challenging at times.
***Realize everyone has unique abilities, talents, skills and interests.
**Know that we are all important.
**Understand we can all enjoy life.
**Believe everyone has something to teach and share with others.
***Trust that others can understand us if we speak up.
***Experience deep and lasting connections.
An Invaluable example and potential partnership
Our Director was invited to speak to the over 40 members at the centre that afternoon. She spoke to them about the Gbm Foundation, and the status of mental health and disabilities in general in Cameroon. The attendees were so impressed, and they all asked several questions while sharing their experiences. It was so warm to see people with different disabilities, come together in total unison full of emapthy and witt.
Julie and her son Reuben who both co-mange the centre, agreed that it was worthwhile concluding a partnership with the Gbm Foundation. Therefore, while we at Gbm wait for the formalisation of our accord, we are glad for the lessons learnt visiting the inclusion centre. It would not be a far fetched idea to in the the medium term, integrate some of their activites at the Gbm centre under construction.