A Home Away from Home: A Photowalk with CAFS

Nov 16, 2021

A Home Away from Home: A Photowalk with CAFS

What do you imagine when you hear the word 'home'? A comfortable place- to laze around, have long chats over coffee, read, do anything that you like, and simply, be yourself- right? A home makes you feel comfortable enough to be your authentic self- an ideal environment to receive therapy. The CAFS home offers all of this, in complete contrast to the other mental health support structures in Sri Lanka.

The odour of disinfectants clogs the nostrils, there’s the stark white of claustrophobic corridors, paperwork, questions, and more questions… doubts might well crowd the mind of anyone who visits a hospital in Sri Lanka to seek mental health support.

“I had a lot of children who didn’t want to visit a hospital setting, and regardless of what the clients felt, I myself didn’t feel comfortable, and thus I wanted to create a space which was more homely, welcoming, doesn’t feel like going to see a doctor who’s going to give you a diagnosis and make it really difficult.”

and this was the driving motivation for Giselle Dass to start CAFS.

CAFS is a social enterprise in Sri Lanka that provides clinical and psychosocial services to young people, adults and families in a non-clinical setting where they feel at home. Their homely, child-friendly hub provides services of the highest standard through a network of fully certified adult and child psychologists and art therapists. The centre also provides work placements for trainee psychologists to grow the pipeline of mental health expertise in the country. You can listen to the podcast where they take you through a day at work.

A place of care and comfort from the moment you walk in...an enriching environment where clients can be themselves.

Building relationships founded on respect and compassion. A secure environment where one feels supported in the best way possible to discuss intimate issues and work through them safely.

The CAFS teams' values of respect, safety, compassion and enrichment resonate both in their services as well as within their team in order to create a culture of care and an accessible mental health ecosystem.

A client leaves the CAFS home not only being understood by the therapist but also with a better understanding of themselves and their relationships with their loved ones.