By Daruwana Daku
Against the backdrop of needed attention given to people that are mentally challenged in Nigeria, the Awka Community Restoration Association (ACRA), a Non-Governmental Organization founded by Rev. Fr Basil Uchenonye, has been putting smiles on the faces of people with mental health challenges every month.
To key into the spirit of the festivity and helping their primary target have a sense of belonging, ACRA had on 12 and 13 December, 2021, taken to the streets of Amawbia and Awka in search of the mentally challenged to give them succour.
Co-anchoring the feeding programme with the NGO was Mummy’s Pot Restaurant Awka.
Reaching out to the mentally challenged at Amawbia and Awka, Fr Uchenonye assured benefactors on the need to continue with the programme on monthly basis.
Fides gathered that ACRA was inspired by Fr Uchenonye when he was a medical student living at the Diocese of Kingston Cathedral in the Caribbean. The Rev Fr. Medical Doctor, who witnessed the regular feeding programmes hosted by the diocese and many other parishes, now wants to replicate that experience in Nigeria by forming St. Anthony’s Bread and Soup Kitchen, now ACRA.
Fr Uchenonye, among many of his aspirations of increasing the number of benefactors plans to get a space where they (mentally challenged) can
come and have food, as well as getting psychiatric doctors to attend to them.
The outreach which was mainly for the mentally challenged, also extended help to other less privileged on the streets.
‘We left with 75 packs of packaged food, drinks and meat for our prime target – the mentally challenged – this month and shared all of it. We also gave to people who were not mentally challenged but were very hungry and on the streets too,’ Fr Ucehnonye explained.
The priest also expressed satisfaction with the lives the NGO had touched so far, even as he believed there was need for more progress.