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A CRAZY HOPE


52'
2015


VERSION(S)
French, English & International

SUPPORT(S)
HD

PRODUCER(S)
KWANZA - LUKARN

DIRECTOR
Virginie BERDA

This crazy dream belongs to a man who almost lost his mind, and who, having recovered from his own illness, has devoted himself to helping the poorest of Africa’s sick: the insane.

In the big cities of Africa, the mentally ill can be seen wandering the streets, yelling and shouting, often completely naked and feeding here and there on waste. In the countryside, their helpless families respond by chaining them to trees, so that they cannot leave, hurt anyone or disappear.

But Grégoire Ahongbonon knows there is an alternative: talking to families, winning them round, reaching out to those who are feared, providing the care appropriate to their needs and the human comfort of which they are completely deprived.

Grégoire never lets problems stand in his way:
"People are scared of insanity in Africa. Very, very scared!... And it’s this fear that causes suffering and the rejection of these patients. Our goal is to bring down this wall of fear. People think that mental illness cannot be cured, that patients are possessed by the devil, that it’s witchcraft. They’ve every excuse for abandoning them.”
He adds: "Most African countries only have one or two psychiatrists and no drugs..."

This documentary traces the life of Grégoire Ahongbonon: the story of a 21st century man fighting the prejudices and archaisms of his society.

But the most amazing thing is seeing how one man’s conviction can move mountains. Grégoire has started every one of his initiatives without the slightest guarantee of funding, and yet... today, four centers exist in Côte d'Ivoire, the same number in Benin, there are projects in Burkina Faso and Togo, hundreds of patients are being cared for and protected, there are regular remissions and a growing number of volunteers and caregivers are coming to strengthen the association’s ranks.


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