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 22, 2014

Under the Thumb

Born in a Refugee Camp
Born in a Refugee Camp

A huge thanks to everyone who continues to support DARE Network's projects.  This project "The Amazing Project-Stepping Back to Burma, might be also called Hurry Up and Slow Down.  As many of you know the Road to Return is littered with Landmines, uncontrolled Burmese soldiers who still rape and murder with impunity and no clear peace plan between the Burmese Military Government and the Ethnic Groups.

DARE Network must tread carefully and surely.  But tread we must. Drug addiction inside Burma is proliferating due to lawlessness and the opportunities of the Ceasefire.

Currently we are in the process of training new workers to begin our assessment in Karen State.  These are brave people indeed as they must negotiate their way through all the players to try to learn what the local people want.  What do they think of the drug situation in their villages?  How will they be able to support prevention and recovery work in their own areas?  How can DARE help them?  Meanwhile, all must stay safe from the Drug Lords who control so much of the area we are about to enter.

DARE is partnering with a local Community Based Education organization and the Karen Womens' Organization to travel safely together.  As well, we are sharing research with the award-winning Karen Human Right's Organization, to monitor drug abuse inside our target areas in Karen State.

Meanwhile on the border in Thailand, the Military Coup Makers of Thailand, the Thai Army have started to talk about pushing the refugees back.  Rumours have been flying and fear returning without safety has the refugees in a high state of anxiety.  We continue our work with them in the 5 refugee camps we work in, as we strive to move our work forward to be ready for any sudden forced return.

We have received a grant from Refugees International Japan to print our new Training Manual.  This is great news as it will most certainly be a great tool with which to Step Back to Burma.  We hope you will continue to step with us.  We need your support more than ever at this precarious time.

from all of us at DARE Network

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Jun 17, 2014

Goals, Goals Goals. Soccer, Frisbee and Funding!

Teens for Kids Prevention Training
Teens for Kids Prevention Training

Despite a military coup and martial law being imposed in a spate of political upheavals here in Thailand, life in the camps progresses as usual. In coincidental timing with the beginning of the Soccer World Cup, the rest of Thailand’s curfew is dropped and World Refugee Day opens this Friday with a huge camp vs. camp staff soccer match. Ultimate Frisbee is a very popular game with the youth, but soccer is equally as popular. The World Refugee Day match is one of the biggest camp soccer matches of the year and will showcase some top quality sportsmanship and skill.

At the same time as DARE staff are practicing their kicks and dribbles, they are also preparing for World Anti-Drug Day next week, one of the biggest days of the DARE calendar. It is important that the whole community is involved in drug and substance abuse prevention education, and as such we arrange a variety of activities to suit everyone’s taste. There will be Ultimate Frisbee competitions, music competitions and art competition as well as public awareness campaigns and a gathering of the community in the central community hall. Often, a past client and currently recovering addict will speak to the group. This is especially powerful for the teens and young people there. Hearing the story of someone in their community, who they can relate to, is a much more convincing argument than statistics and warnings.

We will update you on World Anti-Drug Day and World Refugee Day with photos at the next report!

Kids in the camps have been enjoying school holidays for the past couple of weeks. As the schools settle back in, the Teens for Kids group is refreshed and the teams are reformed. Training will be re-invigorated just in time for the World Anti-Drug Day.

The Teens for Kids volunteers are special people who we are very lucky to have as part of the program. Prevention education for young people is of the utmost importance if we are to help kids get through the tough years of teenage hood. Peer pressure, uncertainty about yourself, and a growing self-awareness all contribute to a trying time for teenagers. On top of that these kids have gone through serious trauma in their home states and face an unknown future while waiting in the camps. The Teens for Kids Program provides mutual benefit for the teens involved and the kids they teach, it gives them something to look forward, a purpose and meaning and something to put their efforts and energy towards.

So thank you all for making it a possibility. We have nearly reached the $25,000 goal!

The Teens for Kids Program is a fundamental part of our DARE Network activities and we thank all of our supporters and donors as well as our volunteers for helping to make it such a success. We hope to continue being able to do so, so if you have a spare second to donate some extra dollars, we can guarantee we will put it to inspiring use in the camps for the benefit of the children and teens and their futures.

If you ever have any questions about the programs we run please get in touch at drugfree@darenetwork.com.

All the best until next time,

The DARE Network Team 

Apr 23, 2014

Thingyan - A cause for celebration and support

Photo credit: http://blogs.aupairinamerica.com/lie
Photo credit: http://blogs.aupairinamerica.com/lie

Happy Burmese New Year!

Burmese New Year, or Thingyan, is celebrated with a spectacular water festival in mid-April. This is typically the hottest time of the year and so a fun filled festival of water with community wide street water fights, is really the only way to celebrate.

The 4 day Thingyan, or Songkran in Thailand, water festival is widely celebrated and walking or driving down the streets you are likely to find yourself drenched head to foot. People young and old get involved and the positive atmosphere is tangible and contagious.

However Thingyan is an especially hard time for our rehabilitation program participants and those struggling with drug and alcohol problems. While responsible alcohol consumption is practiced by most people celebrating the festival, for some the temptation is too much. For those in our program, not being able to celebrate in the way they are used to or with their family and friends is an especially trying time.

In the Thai border camps where DARE is currently operating, graduation ceremonies for clients in the February program are held after Songkran to give graduates the most support during this time. Extra relapse prevention education and awareness sessions are held with clients and community members before the holiday.

Across the border in Burma, support is not as easily accessible. Drug and alcohol education does not reach the villages and communities, and help for those who need it is unheard of. Details of Thingyan celebrations are hard to come by, but road incidents over the holiday period are high, as they are in Thailand. Education is essential to prevent these destructive accidents.

Recently, DARE has met with the Karen National Union (KNU) to plan for exactly that, prevention activities in Burma as part of the Stepping Back to Burma Project. The first thing that was agreed upon by all parties is that there is a problem with drugs and alcohol and it needs to be addressed. This agreement is a significant step towards making progress with implementing education programs in Pa-an District, Karen State.  

DARE Network will work alongside the KNU to provide prevention education services to communities and villages initially in Pa-an district, with plans to reach further in the future. Plans will continued to be fleshed out over the coming months.

Meetings with Karen Human Rights Groups (KHRG) to discuss the leadership of activities in the Pa-an district resulted in agreement and progress also.  

Currently posters are being designed to support the prevention education activities in Pa-an. They will be initially sent across the border to introduce our programs and the local, community driven aspects on the organisation. These posters have been drawn by teenagers in the Thai/Burmese camps to depict the environment of drugs as they see it, and carry a powerful message for the close knit Karen families and communities. Look out for the posters in the next update!

 

In other news, DARE Network has a new staff member! Alex Heaven has joined the team as a volunteer to help with funding and external relations. So if you, or someone you know would be interested in learning more about DARE Network and the successes to date, please get in touch with her on heaven.alexandra@gmail.com or on the DARE email drugfree@darenetwork.com.

As always, if you would like to support our ongoing efforts to reach those in need of addiction education and treatment please visit our donation page here: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/the-amazing-project-stepping-back-to-burma/

Thank you to our new and recent donators, your support is greatly appreciated!

Best,

The DARE Network Team 

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