Whatever self-imposed challenges I face in the Atlantic for a limited period of time, it doesn’t compare to the endless struggle faced by children growing up in poverty without choices, or those who suffer mental health issues day in day out. By rowing the Atlantic, I will also be raising money for two vital charities, both of which are personally very important to me: The Mental Health Foundation and Deenabandhu Trust.
“There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.” – Desmond Tutu
To me this sums up well the work of MHF. The vast majority of resources are directed toward treating mental illness whereas the MFH focuses on research into illness and finding ways to improve mental health through community led programmes. They also work to change social perceptions around mental health and despite recent improvements in concern for mental health, it’s still unfairly stigmatised in a way that physical health is not, even as mental illness rated continue to raise globally.
A charity that’s close to me personally, Deenabandhu Trust is an NGO in southern India founded by my uncle in 1992 as a home for orphaned and impoverished children which also provides education through a local school with a further education scholarship programme and teacher programme. Children from Deenabandhu have gone on to become architects, nurses, engineers and social workers directly as a result of Deenabandhu and my uncle’s philanthropic work. These children would otherwise have very few options in life, open to poverty and exploitation.