So much of what the world saw in 2023 - the suffering, the disparity, the anger and the hate - at times, overpowered hope and love. There were moments that truly left me questioning my optimism about the future - my own, of our country, and of the world. But even in those moments my hope and optimism were alive.
Well, it wasn’t just optimism that I was feeling. It was also a strong sense of responsibility to make a change, however big or small, in this world riddled with pain.
My sense of optimism came from knowing that this feeling of responsibility is powerful enough to make a difference.
How do I know that?
Because Freed showed me that it’s possible for a small but dedicated team to make an impact when we put our minds behind a concrete mission.
Freed began in 2021 amidst the continuing global health crisis, which had exacerbated mental health issues, including eating disorders. We recognized the urgent need for accessible and culturally sensitive mental health care, especially in remote areas. Our team worked tirelessly to extend our reach, launching new online services, and partnering with local community leaders to raise awareness.
Impactful Initiatives and Collaborations
This year we grew our landmark program, "Celebrating EveryBODY," aimed at schools and colleges. By educating young minds about body neutrality and mental health, we have taken significant steps toward early intervention and prevention. Collaborations with healthcare professionals, hospitals and local NGOs have been pivotal in amplifying our impact.
Stories of Hope and Healing
At the heart of our mission are the individuals and families we serve. We've witnessed incredible stories of courage and healing. From the young girl in Nagpur battling with severe anorexia to the teenager with Bulimia in a small community on the outskirts of Mumbai who found support through our outreach work — each story fuels our commitment.
The big change I saw this year was that more and more individuals started reaching out for support for themselves. Last year, in comparison, we mostly saw parents and loved ones asking for help. There could not be bigger validation for us as a team that our work is reaching the people we aspire to help.
Expanding Our Horizons
Our research initiatives made especially large strides this year. We launched the first nationwide survey on eating disorders, aiming to shed light on prevalence rates and socio-cultural factors that are unique to eating disorders in India. The insights gained will guide our strategies and programs in the coming years.
Gratitude and Looking Ahead
We are deeply grateful to our donors, volunteers, and partners who have stood by us and pushed us to develop frameworks around the work we do so passionately. As we step into 2024, we remain dedicated to breaking the stigma around eating disorders and ensuring that no one has tofight this battle alone.
Join Us in This Journey
Your support, be it through volunteering, donations, or simply spreading the word, is invaluable.
Together, we can bring hope and healing to many more lives.
Together, we can make a difference.
So come, join us in this journey as we begin 2024 with lots of hope and ambition.