Nakuru county is known to produce big names that have had a big impact on the social, economic and political landscape of this country. The county is never short of new talents that impact positively on the lives of all Kenyans.
This is the case with one Iregi Mwenja, a social change agent transforming the mental health sector through his innovative approaches to this medical problem shunned by many.
Mwenja, an environmentalist turned mental health advocate took it upon himself to be part of a movement that ensures that stigma, ignorance and misconceptions surrounding mental health are addressed.
In 2013, with nothing but a dream, he left a well paying job to join the social change movement in mental health, to successfully establish the Psychiatric Disability Organization (PDO).
Rick Warren in his book Purpose driven life said, if you want to find purpose in your life, go back to your wound. This quote perfectly captures Iregi Mwenja’s situation. Growing up with ADHD, he faced numerous hardships, an experience that gave him a personal sense of responsibility, love and care for people undergoing similar challenges in life.
His organization, PDO works to foster mental health care and advance the rights of people with mental illness.They do this through psychotherapy, advocacy and socio-economic empowerment.
PDO’s flagship project is the Nakuru women prison psycho social support project. Reports by the U.S Bureau of justice statistics, show prevalence estimates of mental illness among prisoners were three to 12 times higher than in community samples, reaching as high as 64%.
See below a video showing what Iregi is doing to transform the lives of the marginalized in the community by combining psychological support with socio-economic empowerment.