On Tuesday, the 20th of October 2020, armed men of the Nigerian Army arrived at the scene of a peaceful #EndSARS protest in Lekki, Lagos and opened fire on peaceful and unarmed protesters. According to Amnesty international, twelve people were killed with many more injured and dozens still reported as missing.
The mass shooting was captured on Instagram Live and watched by over 70,000 people. We were numbed and helpless as we watched the #LekkiMassacre horror on social media. Over the days that followed, it became apparent whilst speaking to our friends, colleagues and close relatives that we were all reeling and adversely impacted from the shared collective trauma.
A week later, we launched EndSARSWellbeing, an initiative to help Nigerians both home and across the diaspora to process their feelings about the protests and continued brutal oppression by those tasked to keep us safe.
We also set up a fundraising page to pay for the necessary counselling and therapeutic support Nigerians at home and in the diaspora would require in the weeks and months following the #LekkiMassacre.
How did it go?
In total, we raised £1,455.00 from 31 amazing souls. This includes a £500 contribution from Zazuu and a £250 donation from Marmalade.
Overall, we had one successful wellbeing session hosted by an altruistic Frontline Therapist, Janelle Johnson. We prepared for multiple sessions per week; however, we had a very low number of registrations.
To date, no one has requested a follow-on session to pay for counselling and therapeutic support.
Since there has been little demand for the project, we have put an end to the wellbeing sessions and stopped receiving donations on 31st December 2020.
Regarding the funds raised, we firmly believe it is vital to continue to promote mental health wellbeing. Thus, we intend to achieve this by making contributions towards a project or organisations that serve Nigerians.
By the end of January 2021, we aim to do the following:
Donate 50% of the funds to Frontline Therapist. A well-being platform based in the UK and offering affordable counselling service for individuals who struggle to access culturally sensitive counselling and who may not be able to access counselling due to cost.
Donate the remaining 50% to a not-for-profit mental health organisation in Nigeria. As at this time, we are still to identify which organisation. However, we are open to hearing from anyone who knows of a reputable organisation or project in the country, so please do reach out to our team.
Thanks to everyone who donated and supported this initiative.