'Shaanti' Project Raises Awareness of Mental Health Issues
Nawar Sattar ’15 has been named a Davis Projects for Peace award winner for the “Shaanti” Project, which seeks to raise awareness of mental health issues, particularly PTSD, in Bangladesh.
Sattar will receive $10,000 from Projects for Peace for his proposal to help those affected by the many disasters that have plagued Bangladesh. The Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013 took more than 1,100 lives and left many traumatized. Additionally numerous factory fires and floods have scarred people and left them homeless. “If victims receive any kind of relief, it is usually in the form of monetary compensation,” said Sattar, a Colorado College political science major from Dhaka, Bangladesh. “Often they develop PTSD, and this is left unaddressed. Unfortunately, like in many other nations, mental illnesses are heavily stigmatized in Bangladesh, to the point where speaking about mental health is considered taboo.”
The Bengali word “Shaanti” means both peace and calmness, he said.
Sattar also will collaborate with the University of Dhaka to conduct training programs and workshops for social workers, clinical psychologists, and students, and will establish a support team to provide future disaster victims with support if needed. The team, consisting of both professionals and trained volunteers, will be a product of the workshops.
In high school Sattar, a Mahindra United World College of India graduate and a Davis UWC scholar, volunteered at an organization that helped people struggling with mental health issues and/or disabilities. “As a student of political science, I believe that addressing mental health should be an important part of the 'development' process,” he said.
After CC, he hopes to gain work experience in the United States before returning to Bangladesh and pursuing social policy-related issues.
Projects for Peace is an initiative inspired by the late philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis. Upon the occasion of her 100th birthday in 2007, Davis chose to celebrate by committing $1 million for 100 Projects for Peace. The projects judged to be the most promising and feasible are funded at $10,000 each.
Sattar’s is one of many CC projects to be selected as a Projects for Peace award winner. Previous projects include the filming of a documentary in Nigeria (2007); a sports clinic in Honduras and solar water disinfection in Ecuador (both in 2008); a summer music camp for students in Bosnia-Herzegovina (2009); a touring art bus in the Pacific Northwest (2010); working with disenfranchised women in Ugenya, Kenya (2011); and a look post-election violence in Kenya (2012).