An Year of Blooming

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A Review of 2018 : An Year of Blooming

Project Bloom expanded it’s wings embarking on it’s wonderful journey on the 1st of August 2017. Since then Bloom had the opportunity of expanding from just a handful of dedicated school-leavers, to a working team of well-equipped individuals, with a goal of making the importance of mental health, and it’s aspects, better aware to the general public. 2018 saw a considerable growth in Bloom and it’s overall operations, and in fact proved to be quite a resourceful year!

Here is a quick look at everything that happened this year!

1. Musing Meditation

Meditation is a method of relaxation that, if done properly, has a number of benefits on the mind, soul and body of the practicer. Starting January 2018, the Bloom Gang decided to incorporate meditation into our weekly workshops at the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health). Before each session was conducted we’d sit down with the inpatient kids, and conduct 5 mins of thoughtful meditation, enhanced with relaxing music. This was quite a calming experience that was well received by volunteers and patients alike.  

2. Artful Application

September was the month where we decided to explore creative milestones, and set up our workshops in ways that really tested the creative mindsets of our NIMH patients. Beginning with the Japanese art form of Origami, to activities that made use of all sorts and forms of stationery equipment – September was quite an expressive month!

Origami: healing through folding. It is a Japanese art form known for its inherent complexity. It challenges yet rewards its maker, and draws on patience, focus and precision.

3. Depression : Nuts & Bolts

On the 22nd of September, our team had the privilege of attending a workshop conducted by a professional counsellor. The workshop focused on identifying the various forms of depression, as well as its causes and symptoms. Safe to say that we, as an organisation, were better educated on a number of essential factors and vernacular when it comes to mental health, and combating the silent serial killer – depression.

4. Children’s Day Celebrations

The Bloom Gang kicked off the Children’s day celebrations by focusing all the creative skills explored with the patients throughout the month of September into creating handmade cards, and was soon followed by finger painting. We also managed to take with us a number of snacks and delicacies prepared specifically for the patients, and made sure they had a satisfying experience.

5. CAFS : Basics of Counseling

During the month of October, we also had the pleasure of attending a counseling workshop conducted by CAFS (Child Adolescent and Family Services), where we were educated on how to better handle and communicate with individuals who may be suffering from mental health issues. This workshop was part of the initial training our volunteers who were interested in the BloomChat platform received. We were taken through a number of practical exercises that better helped us understand the sensitivities that had to be taken into account when interacting with users of the service. Safe to say it was a very productive session!

#IAMWITHYOUSL : A campaign of CAFS raising awareness about mental health issues in the country.

6. Bloom At The Good Market

This year we were able to go forth with our first ever public fundraising event which took place on the 27th of October at the Good Market (held at Colombo Racecourse). Our stall was set up in a simple yet compelling passion, and we managed to use its presence to influence those who attended the market, and also increase awareness on the importance of mental health. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our donors! After accomplishing our goals for the day, we were quite content to sit down to some much wanted pizza and conversation, in celebration of our success!

Project Bloom is a Good Market Approved Vendor

7. BloomChat for Beginners

The majority of November was dedicated to a series of workshops focused on our online befriending initiative, BloomChat, and it’s fundamentals; going through the processes of better handling those who may be under mental distress through means of text messages. This in turn was a rather successful, insightful experience and equipped us with the skills necessary is basic counseling communication.

BloomChat training conducted at Sooriya Village.

Throughout the last month of 2018, we continued our regular sessions for the NIMH inpatients, with minor variations like the inclusion of TV shows like Mr. Bean and Christmas card making workshops. 2018 truly was one rollercoaster of a ride for us here at Project Bloom, and we were able to accomplish quite a number of things – we really did bloom this year. But we have so much more to achieve, and our plans are already in the works for 2019 . After all, some flowers never really stop blooming 🙂