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“Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.” – Acts 16:26

It’s important to tell the full story about cbm’s mission called “Second Chance” in Burkina Faso, even though the story and images of Boukary may be challenging.

Mental illness is on the rise in Burkina Faso with very few services for people experiencing depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. Influenced by traditional beliefs that see mental illness as punishment from deities and ancestors, it often leads to severe stigma from people in the community. As a result, sufferers can become agitated or display violent behaviour, and are often locked-up with chains and ropes or kept in boxes!

What would you do? If your child’s mind was desperately deranged, constantly lashing out, hurting themselves and in danger of hurting others – unable to control tormented thoughts – what would you do?

If your war-shattered land of poverty had no mental health services, no medication or therapy – what would you do?

Jesus met that kind of mentally-tormented man near Lake Galilee, in Mark 5 – “For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet.”

That is how Boukary has been living in the north African country of Burkina Faso. For his own protection, and the safety of others, Boukary’s parents had to chain him to the ground.

“I was not aware of my actions, let alone what I had become,” he says of the unbearable psychological torture he suffered.

It’s heartbreaking to hear this. Please send your urgent gift to help set people free from the dark prison of extreme mental illness, in one of the poorest countries in the world.

After Jesus healed the man in chains, his neighbours found him at peace, unshackled and “in his right mind”.

Burkina Faso is one of the world’s poorest ten countries for human development. It is a terrible place to be mentally ill. 41% of adults suffer from at least one mental disorder. Mental illness is even higher in the north, where Boukary lives – a place so poor, two-thirds of the population are trying to survive on less than 60 cents a day.

A quote from Noemie, a mental health social worker who spent 10 weeks in the region, describes life for mentally ill people there:

“Drinking only stagnant water, eating only scraps thrown in the trash, rape, harsh weather, rejection, and constant stigma. There are people chained, locked up, roped up outside or in ‘huts’, sometimes for decades.”

That is what happened to Boukary, because of his uncontrollable mental illness.

His parents and neighbours had to overcome his inhuman strength, hold him down, and chain him to the ground. He would sit like a dead man, then thrash about, gashing his chain-tethered arm.

Boukary seemed doomed to be chained for the rest of his life, until he died far younger than he should – with no hope of relief or peace.

But by the grace of God there is always hope! Boukary’s incredible before-and-after testimony shows you the urgent need to help others like him.

The cbm-funded mental health partners in northern Burkina Faso are the SAULER Association, local people driven by the love of Christ to minister to those with mental illness.

“SAULER” comes from the French “Sauve le Reste” – Save the Rest. Save those in chains – whether metal or mental.

SAULER field workers search for sufferers like Boukary.

When they found Boukary they asked his parents to release his chains, so he could be taken for treatment. His parents did not believe Boukary could ever be set free from his fearful violence, but the SAULER team told them about the incredible life-changing results that happen with good mental health support.

Despite his parents fears, the field workers released Boukary’s chains, and took him to the city of Ouahigougya in Yatenga Province.

Thanks to the generous support of people like you, Boukary became a patient at the SAULER Centre for people with profound mental illness. He received simple but very effective mental health treatment: medication and therapy.

Boukary was truly imprisoned by mental illness. The shackles on his mind and his arm would have held him captive for the rest of his life – but now the prison doors have flown open and his chains have been completely loosed.

“Today I have joined other people again. I do things to support myself and my family. I wash cars. It allows me to make a living. I hope to get married one day. My challenge now is to get people to believe in modern medicine for a cure to mental disorders. They can see that it is possible to heal and cure,” says Boukary.

There are so many other people in Burkina Faso who need your urgent help now. Their minds are being broken by poverty, terrorism, and now the pressures of COVID-19, which is further ravaging the threatened economies of Africa.

Because Burkina Faso is so poor, your gift will have a great impact there. So please will you prayerfully consider an urgent gift to help set people like Boukary free from the chains of depression and despair.

Your gift will help mental health field workers find people like Boukary and bring them to the SAULER Centre to heal. It will restore mental health through vital therapy and medication. And it will help patients like Boukary learn new skills, restoring them to their families and communities.

The situation in Burkina Faso is extremely urgent, families like Boukary’s have no way to care for their suffering children. They are desperate.

So many people like Boukary are living under constant pressure that is far too much for the human mind to bear. Please help break their chains and open their prison doors, by sending your urgent gift to help heal mental illness today.

Boukary was in chains of mental despair and torment. Today he is free! Many others like him need urgent mental health medication and therapy. You generous support will transform the lives of those living with mental illness. Please send your gift to ‘Save the Rest’ in Burkina Faso today. Thank you so much.

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