Our awareness programme has a wide range of initiatives that appeal to different sections of the community.
We have embarked on a programme where we engage local schools in raising dementia awareness. We have been giving presentations at schools during assembly morning assembly. These have been received very well and we are seeing referrals coming in as a result of children taking the message home.
We are still working on an initiative to form a committee of teaching staff and student representatives to design programmes on dementia that can be intergrated into the school curriculum. It is work in progress.
Our team and some carers, are engaged in giving talks about dementia at their churches. We have had a number of pastors attend our support group meetings in order to learn more about the conditions. A significant number of our referrals have also come from pastors who had all along not known how to help those members of their congregation who showed symptoms of dementia.
Community events and forums
We are often invited at community events to give talks on dementia and mental illness. At Sukuma Sakhe meetings we have the opportunity to discuss awareness programmes with community leaders from different areas of Lamontville. That is in addition to raising issues that affect our clients.
Some of the worst abuse against our clients is perpetrated by young people. We are working on programmes that target the youth. We have invited young people from organisations such as Child and Youth Care Workers, Deprived Youth and the Volunteer Social Crime Prevention Project to our workshops. These have been well attended. More workshops are planned for 2016.
We also work closely with community care givers, nurses and health clinics and other organizations that work with the elderly to raise awareness in the community.
Libraries and Community Centres
The local librarian has applied for permission to set up a stall in the libary that will host material from BMF on dementia. This includes leaflets and pamplets. Discussions are also going on about finding a number of days a month when a represenative from BMF can give short talks at the library about dementia and mental illness.
Local minicab taxis carry BMF leaflets which they distribute to travelling passengers at peak hours. We also hope to engage the local radio and newspapers as part of a media campaign.