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.
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 

Links:

Mar 17, 2014

Hot and Hotter- 45C in the Shade

Friends at DARE Network
Friends at DARE Network

Dear Friends,

March is the hot and dry on the Thai/Burma border but life must go on.  There is no electricity, air conditioning and water is in short supply.

 This week DARE Network took two Ultimate Frisbee Volunteers into the camp to participate in an addiction prevention activity with our Teens for Kids Program in Mae Ra Moo camp. Other kids travelled an hour to come from the nearby refuge camp Mae La Oon to take part.  All together over 60 young people managed to endure the heat and dust to learn and play together.

 To reach our goals to Prevent Addiction and Violence in the camps, we focus on the youth. 

 Our Master Trainers from our Core Staff, Saw Majer and Saw Wah Do lead the teens in some questions and answers about addiction in their camps among young people and what they were doing to prevent it.  This gave the teens the opportunity to share with each other across camps, which is a rare chance indeed. 

 Ultimate Frisbee by its nature is a “cool” game for young people to play, giving them an alternative to hanging out with nothing to do except experiment with alcohol and drugs. It is directed to all youth and children in the camps who want to play.  Ultimate also provides a chance for girls and boys to play together in a game that has no referee.  All disagreements must be negotiated and resolved by the players themselves. It is called the Spirit of the Game.  It can then be applied to many situations of conflict.

 Our volunteers Rachel and Stephen are part of the Ultimate scene in Thailand.  They travelled 4 hours from Chiang Mai and then came the further 2 ½ hours on the “off-road” into Mae Ra Moo camp.  Stephen and Rachel provided drills and instruction to help improve the game and unrelentingly endured the heat.  Bravo and thanks.  They also donated special indestructible soccer balls to DARE Network Teams provided by their non-profit company, One World Futbol Project. Chevrolet sponsors the project.   Lions and elephants have tested their soccer balls!

 All in all we had a great day. Mae Ra Moo Team prevailed over Mae La Oon but everyone upheld the “Spirit of the Game”......thanks in a huge part to you.

Frisbee drills
Frisbee drills
Playing the Game
Playing the Game
Chasing the shadow of the disc.
Chasing the shadow of the disc.
Fuelling up.
Fuelling up.
Honouring the trainers with a gift.  Surprise!
Honouring the trainers with a gift. Surprise!

Links:

Jan 23, 2014

Getting ready for Action

Ju Nu, New DARE Addiction Worker/Trainer
Ju Nu, New DARE Addiction Worker/Trainer

The Holiday Season is over for everyone.  Here at DARE Network we are hard at work.  As a thank you to all of you who so kindly and wisely contributed to our new project to go ahead of the refugees back to Burma, we want to share the story of one of our new Addiction Worker/Trainers, who is from a village just the other side of the border.

Her name is Ju Nu and this is what her hopes are.

Ju Nu says.

"When I stay inside Karen state in my village I was looking for a job like social worker because in my village I had seem many problems and especially many youth are go under control of alcohol. I want to help them but I don’t know how to help. This happen more and more after Government and arm group make ceasefire. I decided to come to borderline refugee camp and looking some opportunity to get a training.  In middle of April 2013 I hear a call from DARE Network for Training Of Trainers training. I send my application to the staff to get interview. Finally i have a chance to attend the DARE TOT in Mae La Camp at 5th June 2013 for six months.

It was benefit for our community and especially TOT students for the future. We gain a lot of knowledge and have more experience. If we over view it there are a lot of substance abuse spread in our Karen state inside Burma. I thought that if I finished graduation I will go back to work with our people to reduce the substance abuse in Karen state inside Burma start from my village. But after i finished graduation I can’t go back and work inside Karen state in my village as my dream because the situation are not easy as I thought. There are no real peaceful yet and not a good time for me to provide the addiction knowledge. During that time I am back to one camp and continuous working with community in refugee camp with other workers. One day i hope that i will have a chance to go back and working inside Karen state. Now a day we know those drugs and alcohol very strong over Karen people and some of us become slave of drugs and alcohol. In the past, we don't have any kinds of drug and alcohol but now a day we have it a lot.

We have got education and knowledge from Training Of Trainers as to help and reduce people who became slave of drug and alcohol. More over people will know more about our organization and understand our program activities. We hope that one day the addict people will decrease in our Karen state. If we compare the situation in the past and now, it's not the same because now days there are a lot of substance abuses spread inside Karen state. We try very hard and attending the DARE TOT training. Therefore our ambition is to try the best to reduce addict people who over control by substance abuse.

For your kindness assistance our training was going smoothly since the beginning until the end of the training. As you love us and try the best for us we also give you our promise to try the best in our program activities in the future.

Thanks to you all from all of us at DARE Network for helping us raise over $6000. including Bonus Funds for this project on Global Giving.

Links:

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