“Organic Agriculture as hortitherapy for persons with psychological disorders”
“Organic Agriculture as hortitherapy for persons with psychological disorders”
Project Summary:

One of the prominent objectives of OpenMind is to promote the welfare of psychologically distressed and vulnerable persons through Art and Nature Life Therapy. OpenMind’s field of activities seeks to develop the social skills, capacity development, the re-adaptation and empowerment of young persons and adults who suffer from psychological distresses. By reason of their psychological conditions, they are excluded from the mainstream of social and economic activities with the result that they step further down in their incapacities with increased dependence on the family or society for their means of livelihood.

The other main activities of OpenMind Centre are: Craft Workshops; Art-Therapy; Creative Workshops; Psychological Sessions; Psychotherapy; Therapy for Carers, especially parents.

- The Hortitherapy Workshops are designed to benefit young adults as well as adults who are psychologically affected through the acquisitions of skills in sustainable agriculture.
- The training in eco-friendly agriculture techniques would allow them to work in an environment conducive to the improvement of their welfare. Training approach will emphasize work skills and work habits in activities such as soil preparation, propagation of seeds, planting of seeds and seedlings, crops treatment, preparation and use of compost, care and maintenance of the beds as well as handling and storing crops.
- These workshops will be held at Ebène and will be conducted under the supervision of therapists/ facilitators. The workshops sessions will be held every day.
- Garden crops under cultivation will be seasonal and perennial aromatic herbs, organic vegetables and fruits. Endemic plants, local breeds and flowers will be privileged. The produce harvested will be used in the community, especially to the neighbourhood. Organic vegetables will be put on sale (Panier Bio) every Friday and Saturday to the community in the Solidarity Shop of OpenMind Centre at Quatre-Bornes.

The expected outcome of the Programme is:

• Provision of therapeutic treatment to persons with psychological disorders through Hortitherapy using organic agriculture.
• Capacity Development.
• Provision of training in organic agriculture.
• Empowerment of the psychologically distressed persons.
• The development of the social skills and the re-adaptation of youngsters and adults excluded from any form of economic activities with the result that they steep further down in their incapacities with increased dependence on the family or society for their means of livelihood.
• The regain by the beneficiaries of self confidence and attainment of a satisfactory degree of empowerment process that is measurable albeit over time.
• The beneficial effect of Hortitherapy on the mental state of the beneficiaries has been acknowledged by parents and attending doctors as well.
• The setting up of the workshops would have the double functions of not only assisting in the recovery of the beneficiary in the medical sense but also where possible restoring the employability of the persons and thereby giving them their autonomy and self determination.
• Improving their autonomy and their quality of life.
• Alleviating their distress through therapeutic support;
• Providing a source of Income to beneficiaries, and reducing poverty for the relatives.
• Sale of Eco-Agricultural Produce in the “Solidarity Shop” at Quatre-Bornes.
• Process for Eco Certification.
• Development of an Approach and a Methodology for enhancing capability among persons suffering from psychological disorders.

Items:
Staff
1. Project Coordinator for Hortitherapy Project at Ebène.
2. Watchman

Equipment/Materials:
4. Water Tank
5. Specialized Garden Tools
6. Shelter for Beneficiaries & Store for tools
7. Installation Works for Water Tank & Water Pump
8. Electricity Installation for the shelter and water Pump
9. Security Gate for the premises
10. Composter
11. Organic Pest Controls
12. Plants & Seeds

Others:
13. Transport Facilities for Beneficiaries - Fuel Costs for the mini-bus
14. Land Preparation & Fencing
15. Inspection & Monitoring for Eco Certification

Other sources of funding:
• Income from the selling of Products at “La Boutique Solidaire – Le Badamier “ of OpenMind Centre at Quatre-Bornes.
• Marketing & sale of organic products to hotel, restaurant and Ecole Hôtelière situated at Ebène.
• Co-Financing Project Proposal submitted to a company under the CSR Scheme for the Organic Certification component by FORENA.
• Funds received under CSR Schemes & grants from 9 institutions/ companies.

1.2 Organizational Background and Capacity to implement the project

OpenMind was founded in April 2010. It conducts its activities at the OpenMind Centre which has been active since 6 September 2010 at 6, Malartic Street, Rose-Hill and as from 28 August 2012 at Quatre-Bornes. The OpenAir Project will start in November 2012.

OpenMind is a Non-Governmental Organisation registered with the Registrar of Associations and bears the registration number 11603. It has been granted CSR accreditation and bears National CSR Accreditation number: N/1525.

OpenMind focuses on the plight of people suffering from psychological disorders. Their very mental condition drives them out of social and economic activities, nips them out of their social environment and often tears them away from their families and relatives, and ultimately condemns them to isolation and seclusion.

The centre piece of the project is the psychological well being of children, young persons and adults, particularly those from fragmented family and social background, being especially prone to psychological distress.

OpenMind sets out to cater for and support a range of therapeutic programmes based on the development of skills and training in diverse fields including, art-therapy, training in crafts and hortitherapy aiming towards the social re-adaptation of the psychologically distressed children, young persons and adults. Through the special properties of art and nature life therapy, for instance horticulture, as a means of soft treatment, training in organic agriculture will be achieved.


The main activities of OpenMind:
The main activities being conducted are –

? Organization of therapy sessions and activity workshops
? Rehabilitation and monitoring of beneficiaries by professionals.
? Introduction to and training in Arts and Crafts
? Provision of therapeutic services to the psychologically vulnerable.
? MindSet – a Learning Centre for Out of School Children due to psychological disorders.
? Establishment of a Solidarity Shop which will be run by the Beneficiaries.
? Hortitherapy Workshops through organic agriculture.

Based on a psychological assessment of a candidate beneficiary, therapeutic programmes are devised, geared at the development of skills and training in diverse fields, training in crafts and creative activities. Through the special properties of art and nature life therapy as a means of soft treatment, the programmes seek to reconstruct the self confidence and to facilitate the social integration and adaptation of the psychologically distressed persons, and further to develop their creative talents and promote their economic and social well-being. In fine, the Centre works towards the social re-adaptation of the psychologically distressed young persons and adults, and promoting their capacity development.

OpenMind has the experience and track record in operating the workshops and managing projects in support of its activities:

(i) OpenMind is capable of offering a specially adapted work environment conducive to training of psychologically distressed persons in skills related to art and nature life therapy and related areas on its premises.
(ii) The beneficial effect of those training activities on the mental state of the beneficiaries has been acknowledged by parents and attending doctors.
(iii) The specific delivery of the craft workshops has been the production of artisanal works and paintings put for sale.
(iv) Nine projects and ongoing programmes have been financed under the CSR Scheme:

• “MindSet – A Learning Centre for Out of School Youngsters due to psychological disorders & disabilities.” CSR Donator: Innodis Foundation
• “Building up the self-sustenance capacity of persons suffering from psychological disorders and promoting their empowerment.” – CSR Donator: Rogers Foundation
• “To provide for the welfare, social skills and re-adaptation of psychologically distressed persons through Art Therapy” - CSR Donator: BLC Ltd
• “Ensuring the right to development, the rehabilitation and social integration of children aged 7 to 14 years old suffering from behavioral problems due to psychological disorders” - CSR Donator: Somags Ltd
• “Programme d’aide par la prise en charge thérapeutique des personnes vulnérables et atteintes de troubles psychologiques.” CSR Donator: Fondation Médine Horizons
• “Capacity Building for Staff & Facilitators” - CSR Donator: Maurice Design Ltd
• “Group Therapy Sessions for Carers and Parents” - CSR Donator: Caudan Communauté
• “Day Care Service and Individual Sessions for persons suffering from psychological and psychiatric disorders”- CSR Donator: MCB Forward Foundation & Fondation Nouveau Regard
• “Hortitherapy Workshops for Psychologically Distressed Persons at OpenMind Centre at Rose-Hill” - CSR Donator : Maurice Design Ltd
• “Employability of Psychologically Distressed Persons Programme” – Donator: Barclays Bank

With those encouraging results, OpenMind is stepping its efforts to widen and deepen its training in sustainable and organic agriculture in a bid to offering capacity development to those of the beneficiaries who display that level of skills and talents likely to attract demand on the labour market. It is established in medical circles and in other countries that this soft treatment approach to psychological distress by means of horticultural therapy and agrotherapy is a strong and necessary complement to hard psychotropic treatment. The setting up of the workshops would have the double functions of not only assisting in the recovery of the beneficiary in the medical sense but also where possible restoring the employability of the persons and thereby giving them their autonomy and self determination, culminating with their integration in society.
.
The capability of OpenMind to ensure its services is derived also from its human expertise and functional structure:

? Services of a fully qualified clinical Neuropsychologist.
? Services of a Clinical Psychologist cum Art Therapist
? Assistance of Care Officers provided to the beneficiaries in the course of their activities.
? Support of facilitators provided to the Art-Therapist in the creative and artistic workshops.
? Psychotherapist & therapists examine the beneficiaries and monitor their progress.
? Two Psychiatrists provide overall guidance and services.
? Full time Project Coordinator to coordinate and monitor the Hortitherapy Project.
1.3 Project Objectives and Expected Results
i. Building the capacity of disabled persons to acquire those skills in the area of sustainable and organic agriculture with a view to evolving in gainful occupation as a means of livelihood as well as conserving biodiversity.
ii. Alleviation of psychological distress through capacity development.
iii. Acquisition of self-esteem and self-reliance.
iv. Validation of an Approach and a Methodology for raising capability among persons with psychological disorders.
v. Training persons with work skills and work habits in organic agricultural activities such as soil preparation, propagation of seeds, planting of seeds and seedlings, crop treatment, preparation and use of compost, care and maintenance of the beds as well as handling and storing crops without using chemicals and pesticides.
 

Project Snapshot

Grantee:
OpenMind
Country:
Mauritius
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
Grant Amount:
US$ 50,000.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 177,055.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
US$ 423,667.00
Project Number:
MAR/SGP/OP5/YR2/CORE/BD/12/02
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed
Project Characteristics and Results
Capacity - Building Component
Jardin en carré” which is to practice gardening in a space subdivided in squares. In each square plot, there is a different cultivation for each beneficiary. ? Creative activities and protection of the biodiversity pertain to the nature such as: sticking seeds, the building of little huts for birds and insects. ? Developing a pedagogical garden with endemic plants for the purpose of conservation of biodiversity. ? Allocation of Income to Beneficiaries. ? Validation of an Approach and a Methodology for raising capability among psychologically distressed persons.
Notable Community Participation
OpenMind has already grown and harvested various vegetables and plant in its previous centre at Rose-Hill for more than one year. The positive impact on the beneficiaries was fully measured by our therapeutic team and all the beneficiaries were always keen to attend this workshop; they were very caring about the process of growth of “their” vegetables which were put on sale first to the staff, then to the nearby community. The acquisition of self-esteem of these psychologically distressed persons was tangible and they will be delighted to continue under supervision for organic agriculture. In a short span of time, by word of mouth, its vegetable and fruit production is sought after by the neighbourhood community and the market places. We have had market sellers who came to buy our vegetables but we were unable to provide them the quantity asked for. For our flea market, the vegetable stand was a big success and after few hours everything from vegetables, aromatic to fruits were all sold. The vegetables harvested will be sold on Friday and Saturday to the local community, specially to the hotel and restaurants in Ebène Area. There is also a project to contact l’Ecole Hôtelière situated at Ebène for the sale of the organic products of OpenAir.
+ View more
Indicators
Biophysical
Number of globally significant species protected by project 15
Biophysical
Hectares of globally significant biodiversity area protected or sustainably managed by project 91
Empowerment
Number of women participated / involved in SGP project 77

Grantee Contact

Mrs Marylene Francois
Phone: 464 1361
Fax: Nil
Email: openmind@intnet.mu
 

Address

P.O Box 116
Rose Hill , Rose Hill ,

SGP Country office contact

Mrs. Pamela Bapoo-Dundoo
Phone:
(230) 213 53 84
Fax:
(230) 212 14 11
Email:

Address

2nd Floor, Sugar Industry Pension Fund Building, 1 Remy Ollier Street
Port Louis, Mauritius

Country Website