After the devastating May 11 flash floods in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province, thousands of people who lost their homes remain in poorly equipped community shelters. With no plan in place to re-house them, their vulnerability to disease and mental health problems is at an all-time high.
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is one of very few organizations providing medical and mental health services in the shelters, and with psychosocial support spread thin, we see that shelter residents are finding comfort in each other—and music. Taking our lead from the communities and working with shelter leaders and local musicians, MSF has been putting on musical programs in some of the largest shelters. This is just one facet of a mental health strategy that ultimately aims to empower shelter leaders to facilitate ongoing support groups for their communities.
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