Vision Statement

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“Umuntu Ngubuntu Ngabantu”, “I am because We are” people/community”. (a Zulu proverb)

Our Principles: LACE – (verb)To fasten, draw together or compress by, or as if by means of lace :

L   Love they neighbour as you love yourself.

A   Ability you have the ability to improve your life and anothers

C   Congruence – Respect for everyone and being authentic

E   Empathy – you cannot preach

“Umuntu Ngubuntu Ngabantu”, “I am because We are” people/community”. (a Zulu proverb)

The vision of Lady Boss started in 2006. The Zulu proverb always spoke to me about the importance of community. My dream is to:

• Draw and bring together professionals and victims of abuse and mental health service users to mentor to bring healing and support in the community; and
• Demystify and educate the community with other professionals on the two topics.

After 5 years of living and working in mental health teams in the UK, I asked myself what I was doing here and why I was born. My observations of the gaps in services for mental health sufferers in Kenya my home grew wider and wider. Currently working as a manager in community mental health teams, it became clearer that there was great difficulty in engaging the African and Afro-Caribbean communities in the services. Thus, the concept of mentorship which is not new in our cultures was birthed. Lady Boss is a faith based group and open to everyone. I am a mentor and a coach and a service user.

Stigma, suspicion, misdiagnosis, denial, language and understanding cultural backgrounds, community histories and religion made it harder to request for professional support. For those known as “diaspora” and those born British, familial support is few and far between. I found myself thinking of someone whom I grew up with. Checking the tick box, and his erratic behaviour it is likely he had Bipolar disorder or Schizo-Affective Disorder and without the right support he lost his life. Bipolar disorder was earlier known as manic depression. We did not understand mental health then and we do not have the tools or enough professions to support the diversity of the mental health spectrum. Brain Drain caused the immigration of professionals and we are yet to return to create and pass on what we have learnt. My research demonstrated that professional help was affordable to those who were rich in Kenya, leaving the rest of us to wing it. The other danger is the over medication of mental health users.

Religion was another challenge, I believe we are tripartite and with the “Man of God” being the voice for believers, it was important to look at involving the church. Whilst the church may not be equipped, with training, advocacy and religious therapists in place, people can support people live whole lives. I will also acknowledge that the understanding of spiritual things would benefit professionals.

Everyone needs general information on mental health, not just in case it happens to them or their family but their own well being. Mental Health does not mean you are mad! Praying harder may not make the symptoms go away but a symbiotic relationship developed between mental health professionals and the Church would save a lot of lives. “There is psychology with every theological exposition that facilitates the change of the heart and mind and behaviour. “ (borrowed from Noel Jones, USA preacher) The combination of increased resources in the Black and Ethnic minority groups can make great in roads in accessing services. I personally went on a quest to research doctrinal issues, and the page Soul to soul begins the process.

Our initial plan was to put Lady Boss on the international platform. We have a closed group of countries represented which include, the UK, USA, Britain, Thailand, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Chad, Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica, Canada, South Africa and Zimbabwe etc

This subsequently allowed people to share their experiences and openly discuss their diagnosis and information is available to support. Demystifying abuse and challenging traditional views is one of our core agendas has been slow to pick up in the discussion, and difficult to engage, however, 2 men came forward a former aggressor and female victims spoke out. Depression is one of the most read and contributed topic followed by Domestic violence.

I welcome you to this movement. Asante sana