Amina Abdalla, the Chairlady of Mombasa Women Empowerment Network, was on Wednesday, October 20 honored as a heroine, during the Mashujaa Day Celebrations.
The prestigious Mashujaa Day Award was accorded to Amina and other 220 nominees by President Uhuru Kenyatta during the celebrations that took take place in Wanguru stadium, Kirinyaga County.
Abdalla was feted with the award due to her exemplary work in rescuing and treating mentally challenged people in the Coastal region.A photo of Amina Abdalla speaking during a function held on October 7Amina Abdalla/Facebook
In an interview with a local media house on Tuesday, October 19, the 45-year-old stated that she was rejected and abandoned by her family and friends after learning that she decided to take care of mentally ill patients.
“They used to ask me if I never had something to do and some claimed that it was the responsibility of the government to take care of the patients. My family too faulted me, stating that some cases of the victims were as a result of witchcraft.”
She stated that her inspiration to start the initiative began 10 years ago, when she witnessed mentally ill people roaming in the streets of Mombasa being ignored.
“I asked myself several questions and wondered if the patients would recover and be normal like me. I then tried taking a few of them to the hospital at my own cost and I was motivated to carry on since the patients were recovering. I also realized that most of them came from humble backgrounds," she added.
The 45-year-old narrated that she was forced to move her facility to Jomvu constituency after residents protested against her stating her facility was near their homes.
She further lamented that most families have abandoned their mentally challenged kin, owing to the retrogressive beliefs with some regarding the patients as outcasts.
“Their families have abandoned them and viewed them as a bother. I’m now appealing to the families to know that this is a disease and not a result of witchcraft," she pleaded.
For the last 10 years, she has managed to rescue and treat hundreds of mentally challenged people, with several of them recovering and reuniting with their families.
Amina expressed her joy stating that at last her efforts have been recognized.
“I’m extremely delighted because at last my efforts have not only been recognized in Coast but also by the country at large,” she stated.
Ferdinand Omanyala, was also honored for his exemplary sportsmanship, which saw him set an African record of 9.77 seconds in the 100 Meters race, on September 18 in Nairobi, beating the legendary Yohan Blake during the Kip Keino Classic competitions.
The nominees awarded will receive a medal, a certificate, and a special attire from President Uhuru.President Uhuru Kenyatta congratulates Ferdinand Omanyala who recorded a best personal time of 9.77 at Kip Keino classics at Kasarani Stadium on Saturday, September 18, 2021PSCU
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