On September 18, the psychiatric centre of the Brothers of Charity in Bukavu received the triannual Caritas International – Deckers Award because of the remarkable pioneering work in mental health care in Congo’s war-torn South Kivu Province. The psychiatric centre, called SOSAME, received € 65.000 to further support its regional initiatives in mental health care.
CARAES, the NGO for development cooperation of the Brothers of Charity, founded by the Belgian St. Vincent, makes again the news. A week ago, CARAES was awarded the first “For a Better Life” prize during a benefit evening of organisation of the same name. This time CARAES’ project Sosame occupies a niche on the BBC NEWS site. The psychiatric centre, Sosame, (the abbreviation for “Soins de Santé Mentale”) is an initiative taken by Bukavu which has established a new psychiatric aid station in Shabunda, in the war-ravaged and structurally poor Kivu region in eastern Congo.
CARAES is the NGO for development cooperation of the Brothers of Charity, and is committed to improving the living conditions of the most discarded people worldwilde. The ngo is running 60 projects of orthopaedagogic care, mental health care and education in 16 developing countries. Caraes wants to mobilise people and means in the North to launch, build and sustain high-quality initiatives with proper partners in the South.
Texts and photos can be found on http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/7972900.stm.
The non-profit organization CARAES was founded as a development aid organization in 1967. Originally, its purpose was to offer help at the psychiatric hospital of Ndera (Rwanda). Given its close connection with the non-profit organization Brothers of Charity, CARAES could rely on a global network of facilities for education and training, remedial care, and mental healthcare.
Obviously, CARAES was requested quite quickly to support other initiatives in the South, apart from Ndera (Rwanda), in the aforementioned sectors. Working as a well-structured non-profit organization for development aid (NGO, recognized officially by the Belgian government in 1978) appeared feasible. The three aforementioned sectors were integrated in the whole of the NGO’s operations. In the course of the years, the NGO’s geographical range was to expand too: Brazil, Burundi, RD Congo, the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Mongolia, Pakistan, Papua-New-Guinea, Peru, Rwanda, Tanzania, Vietnam, and South Africa.
The CARAES projects are financed by means of donations and government subsidies. The organization cooperates with DGOS when it comes to co-financing (General Directorate for Development Aid of the Federal Government). In addition the Flemish Community is involved in several education and training programmes. Finally, CARAES also receives support from provincial and local authorities for concrete projects.
In case of specific initiatives that are in line with our mission but do not belong among our core activities (one of the three sectors), Caraes appeals to other organizations. So far CARAES has cooperated with, amongst others, Memisa, DMOS, Protos, Alians, Foncaba, Handicap International, Caritas Internationalis, RET, Volens, CBM, Misereor and man others. As far as Belgium is concerned, CARAES supports Platform Handicap and Onwikkelingssamenwerking. Furthermore, CARAES is also a member of the Flemish organization of NGO’s Coprogram. Through the years, CARAES’ operations have gone through quite a number of changes.
Originally, the organization would offer purely material and financial support whereas today it also offers personal support (volunteers and collaborators). Today, CARAES focuses on educating and training local staff. After all, they are the future! At the same time, CARAES vision and mission became ever more clear: to concentrate on improving the quality of life of the three target groups in which the organization specializes, and this through offering adequate assistance and help in a professional fashion.