The highlight of Grégoire’s stay will be the Quebec launch of this book at Éditions Paulines (2653 Masson, Montreal) at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, May 18. A launch in Paris with Grégoire and Benoît took place in January.
Who is Benoît Des Roches? Benoit is a community psychiatrist in the suburbs of Montreal. For the past 10 years, he has been going to Benin every year to meet Grégoire as a volunteer for 3 to 4 weeks. He provides consultation and training to the workers, accompanies Gregoire and participates in conferences with him in the country or elsewhere. At the request of the latter, he wrote this book in which he puts his professional (psychiatrist) and spiritual (catholic believer) perspective. He also relates Gregory’s personal journey from his childhood. We read how this man became the caregiver, the fighter, the entrepreneur and the visionary that he is today.
The reference for this book: Le Regard qui Libère, ed. Salvator, Paris, 2022. It is currently on sale on Amazon and in the following bookstores:
– In Quebec City: Médiaspaul, Laliberté, Morency, Renaud-Bray Galeries de la Capitale and Renaud-Bray Sainte-Foy bookstores – In Sherbrooke: Médiaspaul and GGC bookstores – In Gatineau: Renaud-Bray Promenades Gatineau and Rose-Marie bookstores – In Montreal: Médiaspaul, Paulines, Bertrand Foucher Bélanger, Monet and Renaud-Bray Côte-des-Neiges bookstores.
We hope to see you at the launch of this book. You should not regret meeting these two men. They are deeply committed, each in their own way, to the benefit of those people who are being treated for their mental illness at Saint-Camille in order to regain their health and human dignity. This event will be the only opportunity for the general public to come and meet Gregory in person.
This man who is bringing us together to support his commitment and that of his team for the benefit of African mental health patients will arrive on the evening of May 12 to continue his journey to New Orleans on the 20th of the same month. Why New Orleans? To receive a prestigious award (Chester Pierce Award) from the American Psychiatric Association (APA) during their annual convention. A big deal! This association brings together the majority of American psychiatrists (tens of thousands) and others from abroad. He was offered the opening lecture for 90 minutes. He will be accompanied by Dr. Benoît Des Roches, a Quebec psychiatrist who knows St. Camille well. A booth will be set up by an American organization that supports St. Camille, “Treatment Not Chains” is gradually developing. This is a great opportunity to network with our neighbors to the south, which we have been hoping for a long time. It so happens that the people in charge of “Treatment Not Chains” are two psychiatrists, members of the APA.
Before coming to Quebec, we organize activities and meetings for him during the short time he will be with us. The most important one is the launch of a book by Dr. Des Roches on Wednesday, May 18. This event will be an opportunity for you all to meet him and the author. Your assistance is expected.
Les Amis de la Saint-Camille wishes to offer its sympathies to the family and friends of Denis Renaud, who passed away on December 5th. Denis, together with his wife Suzanne Ladouceur, was the founder of our organization. When Grégoire Ahongbonon came to Québec for the first time in 2001, Denis and Suzanne helped form a small informal group to support the work of this great African. They maintained this support group until it became our formal NGO in 2011.
A BIG THANK YOU Denis for your unwavering commitment, together with that of your life partner Suzanne. Your work is invaluable.
This Health Center near Porto-Novo is being developed to become a zone hospital recognized by the Beninese government. This is where patients of the Saint-Camille in Benin are treated free of charge for physical health problems. The regional population also has access to this service, at reduced cost. Steps are underway to ensure that the Health Center is recognized as meeting the governmental standards that apply to the rest of the national network. We are supporting our partner in this project: sending a container of equipment via Collaboration Santé Internationale, purchasing equipment on-site to set up a surgery room, erecting a building to house the medical staff, etc. Other developments are to be planned for the year 2022. The Saint-Camille can count on us.
The network of religious and lay Dominicans in Canada and abroad has mobilized for the construction of a Medical Clinic at the Center of Tokan-Cotonou (Benin) following the request of Grégoire. We joined them to complete this project (currently underway) by acquiring medical equipment through the Roncalli Foundation. We will also finance the end of its construction. The following services are planned: digital radiology, medical analysis laboratory, ultrasound, electroencephalogram, electrocardiogram and colonoscopy. This $194,000 project (for its start-up) will significantly increase the quality of medical services for the patients being treated at the Saint-Camille. (It is a free service for them.) A further benefit is that these services will be available to the population of Cotonou at a reduced cost.
Along with two St. Camille network partners in Europe and the United States, we have been active in presenting Grégoire and St. Camille as candidates for international awards. Last year, Grégoire was the recipient of the Guislain Prize “Breaking the Chains of Stigma in Mental Health”. Now he has just received the Geneva Prize for “Human Rights in Psychiatry”. He is also a finalist for the Aurora Foundation’s “Humanitarian of the Year” Award. These well-deserved international recognitions help publicize the work of Grégoire and his team for the benefit of Africans affected by mental illness.
To meet the need for increased services at the Saint-Camille Hospital in Bouaké, Ivory Coast, we were able to take advantage of a donation requested from the Louise Grenier Foundation. An unused space will be converted into a maternity ward with a delivery room, mother-child services and pre- and post- natal classes. Two midwives paid by the Ivorian government will be assigned to this facility. Budget allocated: $17,000.
Mission Inclusion has offered us funding for social reintegration activities. Following discussions with Grégoire, a six-hectare cashew tree plantation and vegetable garden is being developed on the large plot of land of the new treatment and recovery centre in Sokodé, Togo. The project will be carried out with the significant contribution of patients. They will be paid at the end of their treatment, and their work will also help prepare them for their return to their farming environment: it will improve their physical fitness, help them regain good working habits, etc. The men will do the heavy work (clearing, land preparation, planting, etc…) while the women will do work that is typical for them in rural environments (planting, sowing, harvesting, food preparation, etc…). An irrigation system is included in the project. Cost: $39,900.