Out of the Darkness

Freundeskreis St. Camille, a German organization, helps the mental patients in West Africa. “The suffering of the mentally ill is nowhere as great as in West Africa. Tens of thousands of people live in the villages of Ivory Coast and Benin as chain people, they are locked in dark dungeons or chained to tree roots. They suffer from dementia, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.” (www.st-camille.com)

This photo reportage shows the mental patients and their environments in Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, where Freundeskreis St. Camille is active. Some patients were rescued from miserable conditions of being locked up and chained. Some picked up from streets where they were abandoned, if not interned to the facilities by their families. Those patients receive modern mental health care and once the condition is improved, they can work on the hospital’s farms as rehabilitation and for self-sufficiency.