DARE Network (Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Network)

DARE (Drug & Alcohol Recovery & Education) Network is a grassroots national NGO. DARE Network provides culturally appropriate non-medical treatment & prevention education to reduce substance abuse & associated social issues within the communities of displaced ethnic people from Burma, along the Thai/Burma border. DARE Network envisions the strength of ethnic people from Burma to use the power of recovery from addiction as a non-violent means to resist oppression. A Free Mind Cannot Be Destroyed.
Jul 15, 2015

The Opening Ceremony

Step Back to Burma team stands together!
Step Back to Burma team stands together!

July 1st, 2015 marked the official opening ceremony of DARE Network’s Step Back to Burma training program! After months of preparation, the first DARE team to work in Burma have begun their 6-month long training in Mae La camp. 

These 15 trainees will form a mobile Addiction Worker team that will work in Hpa’an District of Karen State. Here they will become equipped to provide pioneering addiction treatment and prevention education programs to 20 rural villages where such services are vitally needed.

The Opening Ceremony was a day of celebration and a show of the strength of community support for DARE Network’s expansion into Burma. Conducted in both Karen and Burmese languages, and attended by camp leaders, former clients, their families, religious leaders of three faiths - Buddhism, Islam and Christianity, core staff, trainees, trainers, and the wider community of Mae La, the day was colored by a tangible sense of support and encouragement for the new trainees. Thanks in part to your generous donations, the fruits of "The Amazing Project – Stepping Back to Burma” are being realized in a substantial way.

Many leaders spoke a message of hope for freedom from addiction and the vital importance of solidarity. An uplifting and harmonious song performed by the trainees served as a sign of the strength of the team’s collective spirit and support for one another in this brave harbinger project of DARE’s. To solidify this, in one of the oldest shows of community, the Opening Ceremony closed with a shared meal. 

After the ceremony some trainees spoke up about why they had personally felt moved to join this training, and to work as part of DARE’s new Addiction Worker team. Stories of how addiction has affected their communities, their families, and themselves were shared in this new extension of the DARE family. Most of the trainees come from Thai border camps, and desire to return and contribute to their homeland.

The Opening Ceremony took place in the context of recent flairs of conflict in Karen State, which has led to increased instability and displacement of many more people. For as long as narcotics remain a political tool used to fuel and fund conflict, rural villages within Karen State will remain at high risk of suffering from the negative impacts of substance abuse. Proof of this can be seen in the 20-80% addiction rates found across rural villages in the region.

This conflict simultaneously has increased demands for DARE’s camp-based services, as more people seek refuge in the camps from bursts of conflict, whilst donors decrease services provided in camps as they shift funding into Burma to focus on in-country development instead. Addiction rates soar in camps and in rural villages in Karen State.

The Amazing Project – Stepping Back to Burma, marks the beginning of DARE Network beginning to reach out to those communities afflicted by addiction within Karen State, without reducing camp-based operations.

The next 6-months of training for these 15 new Addiction Workers has now commenced, with the promise of hope for real change amongst ethnic communities in Burma.

Religious leaders spoke of the value of community.
Religious leaders spoke of the value of community.
Camp leaders encouraged trainees to do their best.
Camp leaders encouraged trainees to do their best.
Trainees sing together
Trainees sing together
We share a meal, as family and community.
We share a meal, as family and community.
Jul 6, 2015

DARE Community Manual - Mission Accomplished!

Law La Say, Chau Su and Major with the manual
Law La Say, Chau Su and Major with the manual

The DARE All Burma Community Addiction Manual is now complete! A huge success for the team that opens up many opportunities and will strengthen our future programs.  

The manual contains instructions and details of our entire program. From detox massage to community prevention education. It has been developed by our local staff, in only local languages – Karen and Burmese.

DARE’s mission is to build the capacity and strength of the local people to support other community members to recover from addiction. The completion of this manual is very rewarding for the team, who have worked extremely hard on it for many yearsl. It will be a key tool in the spread of addiction awareness, education and recovery along the borderline, in Burma and overseas in third countries.

It will enable people in remote areas to begin to provide awareness, education and basic treatment. It will enable more people to be trained as Addiction Workers, and those trainers we already have to use their skills to train more people in more places.

Law La Say our Program Coordinator was the lead on this project from start to finish.  He directed what was to go in, how the program was to be explained and completed the translation into Burmese.

He said about the completion of the manual:

”In 2002 and 2004 we started to create a manual, we used this for a few years but needed to add more after developing extra modules and feedback from the community. Since then we have been hoping for an opportunity to put all the knowledge together. We have so much knowledge from our time that we have learned and shared, that we decided that if we can put all the information together it will be so useful and much easier for our program, it will be our gift to the program. If ever DARE is gone, or we cannot reach somewhere, the manual will live on as a gift to the community.”

Major, our Assistant Program Coordinator learnt a lot from the process of developing the manual, another huge benefit from the process. He was the main formatter, editor and also did Karen translations. He said about the manual:

”We have support from the other people in the team who can help when something is not correct, so together with my increased skills and the team support I feel more confident to do more things for DARE”

The internal and external gain from the process and actual manual itself are almost immeasurable. We look forward to implementing it here and seeing it be used to help others around the world.

We would like to thank our funders for the manual project; Refugees International Japan and the Dave and Kerry Foundation for their generosity and continued support of our project.

 

Until next time,

The DARE Team. 

Apr 21, 2015

Going Where None Have Gone Before

Making a plan for the trip to Karen State
Making a plan for the trip to Karen State

The hot season is upon us as our team crosses the Thai/Burma Border into Karen State.  Travel is by boat, walking tractor, motor scooter and truck.  And of course, mostly by walking.  The 20 villages we have targetted as the first step in our Amazing Project-Stepping back to Burma surround a high mountain, which sometimes has to be traversed on small paths through the forest and jungle.

Our team are Law La Say our Program Coordinator, Kiri our Master Trainer and Pi Pi our Addiction Trainer and guide.  Pi Pi who lives in Mae La Refugee camp is making his first journey back to his home in Karen State in more than ten years.  It is a joyous time for him.  Pi Pi recovered at our DARE Centre, took our training and now is a respected and highly competent member of our staff.

Thanks to all of you who donated during the GlobalGiving Campaign at the end of 2014, we are now able to share for the first time our work inside Karen State in Burma.  Over the next month our team are recruiting new Addiction Trainees from the 20 villages and Village Addiction Coordinators, while giving general addiction knowledge to the villagers.  By the end of the year, we hope to have trained 40 people, who can then train more workers to help reduce drug and alcohol abuse in their area.

It isn't easy because the ceasefire with the Burmese Army is still tenuous, the rainy season will make travel difficult and bring the malaria, but we have a vision and a plan.  We will share our progress with you.

Here are a couple of photos of our team and the villagers inside Karen State.

We want once again to express our thanks to you and encourage you to share with your friends how you support our work.

from all of us at DARE Network

Materials for travelling
Materials for travelling
Meeting with the District Leadership
Meeting with the District Leadership
Starting the trip to Karen State
Starting the trip to Karen State
Villagers happy to learn how to prevent addiction
Villagers happy to learn how to prevent addiction

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