Mental health is seldom addressed in Bangladesh given the taboo surrounding it in Bangladesh. It is a testimony to the times we live in that the first fair on mental health and comprehensive well-being took place on Saturday in Dhaka.
Sajida Foundation, a 23-year old philanthropic organisation, worked with Purnava Limited to host the day-long event at Brac Center.
A rapt audience listens to speakers at one of the sessions Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune
Visitors found themselves among therapeutic sessions including painting (courtesy of InkbyInaka), pottery (courtesy of Claystation), filling glass jars with coloured sands, using toys to represent real-life issues and resolving them in the sandbox (literally).
The event saw Asiatic 360 Managing Director Sara Zaker and Group Operations Director Sriya Sharbojoya launching Inner Circle, a counselling centre which will be run out Sajida Foundation’s Banani office. Inner Circle will provide a range of psychosocial counselling, training and workshops with the support of an experienced team.
As part of comprehensive healthcare, vegan cuisine was on the menu, along with offering free medical check-ups.
Visitors inspect the various exhibitions which help ease stress Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune
Nusrat, a coordinator at Sadija Foundation, said the team had partnered with Independent University, Bangladesh and Viqarunnisa Noon School to provide counselling to students and plans to widen its support.
Earlier in the morning, Anika Rabbani led a meditation and yoga session, followed by poetry performed by Ampersand.
In the afternoon, a panel discussion including Dr Mehtab Khanam, Dr Helal Uddin, Nissim Jan Sajid and Dr Sabina Faiz Rashid among others addressed mental health and depression.
The event drew to a close in the evening with moving performances from Armeen Musa, Shayan and Samir Obaid.