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#SoroptimistsThinkOnIt 1 ~ ‘Dansé – A Fitness Event to Boost Your Mood’

On Sunday 17th February 2019, Soroptimist International Esperance  presented ‘Dansé – A Fitness Event to Boost Your Mood.’  It  consisted of physical fitness (ZUMBA) and mental health components. This was the first of a series of projects intended to be hosted throughout the year, to heighten awareness and to address mental health issues. Soroptimist International is worldwide women’s organisation, and this project is a part of the #SoroptimistsThinkOnIt  recommended by their Federation, SIGBI.

This was the launch of the Mental Health project.

Dr Katija addressed the group before the start of the Zumba.

The lively Zumba demonstration was totally enjoyed by the participants who ranged in age between 2 and 92, though the majority were teenage girls. The prizes chosen to improve health or provide a sense of well-being were well appreciated. SI Esperance thanks all those who generously gave of their time and resources.

Do it like this! – Zumba instructor Khalid Ghanny.

Dansé! Zumba instructors (L-R) Khalid Ghanny and Jason Manurat with the dancers.

Utter joy at winning a prize! (L-R) Leah Mohammed, Esperance Soroptimist Beverly Ann Ali.

The age range of the attendees was 2 to 92. The young dancer is Zivah, the daughter of Esperance Soroptimist Jayanti Lutchmedial.

Several schools sent teams, this one from Holy Faith Convent, Couva.

The Soroptimists partnered with members of the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Psychologists who provided an interesting preamble to the session, pointing out that physical exercise is one of the most effective ways to improve mental health. They staffed the ‘Time to Talk’ rooms and provided counselling sessions to the participants who wanted them. They were constantly busy! They also staffed an information table with leaflets on mental health.

Many participants took the opportunity to chat with a psychologist in the Time to Talk Counselling Rooms. This one was facilitated by Leslie-Ann Tyson.

Programme Action Officer Tara Pollonais (L) with volunteers from the Trinidad and Tobago Association of Psychologists: (L-R) Darcel Guerra, Leslie-Ann Tyson, J’elle Valdez, Alexandria Olton (Not shown, Katija Khan)

Soroptimist International Esperance hopes that the launch of their project in a light hearted setting will help to dispel some of the stigma surrounding mental health issues which affects 1 in 4 persons at least once per lifetime. In the words of The World Health Organization (WHO) “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity…..  there is no health without mental health.”

A bird’s eye view of the Dansé participants.

Members of Soroptimist International Esperance after Dansé. Kneeling are Zumba instructors (L-R) Khalid Ghanny, Fiona Greensides and Jason Manurat.

Quotes from beneficiaries, “You are good people trying to change the country…and I am glad.”

“This was a fun learning experience for me.”

“It was a wonderful experience.”

“When is the next one?”