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Harare's park bench grandmas: 'I speak to them and feel a load is lifted off my heart'

April 24, 2017

The therapy room is a patch of waste ground, and the therapist’s couch a wooden bench under a tree. The therapist is an elderly Zimbabwean woman, in a long brown dress and headscarf.

 

Her patients call her “Grandmother” when they come along to sit on her bench and discuss their feelings, their depression or other mental health issues.

 

Outside a clinic in Highfield, a poor suburb just south of Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, there are lots of grandmothers – trained but unqualified health workers – who take turns on the park bench to hear stories. They listen to the battered wife who has attempted suicide twice, the man who hates women after he became infected with HIV, the unemployed single mother driven to despair by the struggle of raising four children. Full Story

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