Rotarians in hand with social integration

Horticulture therapy to help former mentally ill patients

Pedro Daniel Oliveira

The Rotary Club of Macau – District 3450 has launched last January, the Horticulture Therapy pilot project in cooperation with St Paul’s School and Fu Hong Society. The target is to help the mentally ill patients who already recovered from their disabilities to be integrated into the society.

For this purpose, four adults are using the rooftop of the St Paul’s School as a garden to grow flowers and greenery. “We provide them post-recovery therapy, so they can get back into society living normal lives and creating means for their living in the future, as gardeners,“ the president of the Rotary Club of Macau – District 3450 Elizabete Fong told O CLARIM.

In her opinion, the horticulture therapy helps patients to develop concentration, as well as to have goals in life, such as caring for vegetables to grow in good condition until they’re harvested.

“This therapy helps them to be very focused and become achievers. They feel very satisfied to help grow something, like flowers, fruits and vegetables, which is a good workout. Hopefully, in future they can be employed by hotels, or other organizations, to manage little gardens, or to do some hotel tasks, so they can earn a living and become normal persons,” she mentioned.

“These adults are very focused. They don’t need to talk to others because sometimes they are not too interactive, since they like to do things by themselves,” explained Fong, who added that the project is to be evaluated in the future and to be expanded to more types of people, such as elderly on wheelchairs.

The Rotary Club of Macau – District 3450 also wants to put into the practice a separated horticulture project in St Paul’s School, this time involving its students and their parents as an extra-curricular activity in order to consolidate family ties. “We can give them the goods for free or they can give to the school or maybe to our Rotarians to sell and raise money for charity,” stressed Elizabete Fong.

The Club’s program includes several activities and health care for elderly, such as festive parties, tours to Taipa or Coloane islands and free dental exams, among others.

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