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Meet community help group that cleans the mentally-ill

The friend, name withheld, became very dirty and smells badly, suggestive that he has spent without a bath. Weekly Trust was told that it was…

The friend, name withheld, became very dirty and smells badly, suggestive that he has spent without a bath. Weekly Trust was told that it was then they became worried and thought that out of the need to bathe and dress him in clean clothes.

They also thereafter realised that there were a lot of other people, mostly the mentally ill, going round the streets in tattered clothes. They then decided to extend their services to all those concerned, the mad and the dirty in their midst. These are the youths of Misau, one of the 20 local government areas of Bauchi State. There are 19 of them, most in their early 20s and 30s, and they call their group Taimakon Kai Da Kai, loosely meaning ‘self-help’in Hausa, aimed at giving the mentally-ill in the society help by bathing and giving them decent clothes.

Yaya Gana Malum, a 35-year-old civil servant is the Secretary to the group. He told Weekly Trust that what they started as assistance to one of their friends is now gaining popularity and is being extended to all the mentally-ill they can find. “We have three of our members who go round Misau to bring any one they can find.”

Malum said though they are yet to be officially registered as an NGO, they are working towards that. While they now use one shop near Manga Cinema in Misau metropolis as their temporary office, they also use a little place across the road from their ‘office’ as the ‘bath room for their ‘beneficiaries’.

He said though some of the mentally-ill people they invite sometimes resist being cleaned up and even become violent, they overpower them in a gentle manner and bring them to the ‘bath place’ where they remove their clothes, leaving them in shorts for the bath.

Do they get any help from society? “The other time, somebody gave us N1,500 and we used the money to purchase some second hand trousers and shirts. We have not yet received any assistance from the government or any other organization: though some good Samaritans give as some form of assistance.”

The Secretary to Taimakon Kai Da Kai said they need things such as clippers, generating set, sewing machine as well as a more discrete place for their work.  

Chairman of Misau local government council, Alhaji Abdullahi Musa Gwaram, said his council was ever-ready to assist any venture that will improve the lives of the people of the area as long as it is being legitimately pursued. He said already the council has donated a sewing machine to the group and intends to sit with its leadership to see how it will be fully registered as an NGO with relevant government agencies.