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.
Mar 10, 2015

Hard decisions ahead for the refugee youth...

Prevention Education in a school classroom
Prevention Education in a school classroom

Return to their homeland, Burma, is now an imminent possibility for 120,000 refugee camp residents on the Thai-Burma border. The prospect of peace that will allow widespread return is an exciting prospect for the refugees. However, for the youth of the camps this brings up some hard questions. Should they go home with their family? What will life be like in rural Karen State?  

Some of the young camp residents were born in the camp and have never even stepped foot in their homeland. Others made the trek from their villages to the Thai based camps for education and work opportunities. Thanks to donors like you, the refugees have had exposure to education, healthcare and support, including addiction treatment and prevention, in the camps that is not available inside Karen State.

This poses a serious question for the youth. Do they try to integrate into Thai society and make use of the opportunities for work and education? Or do they return home and create opportunities by sharing their knowledge and helping the villages build schools and hospitals?

It’s a hard decision.

Our youth addiction prevention education volunteers have a lot of valuable information to share with other youth inside Karen State.  DARE will create ways to make sure that those who go back can share their experience and knowledge in the most beneficial way possible. 

The DARE family has already expanded to Burma. Our Step Back to Burma strategy encourages all DARE staff and volunteers to get involved in addiction prevention and treatment in Karen State. We plan to have Addiction Workers in 20 villages in the next year and then move onto building a central treatment and training center.

The need in Karen State for education on drug use and addiction is huge. Rates of use of Yaba (methamphetamine pills) are as high as 80%. Education about what addiction is and how you can recover is almost nonexistent.

Despite the horrific conditions that have brought many refugees to the refugee camps in Thailand, there is a silver lining. As safety increases and people return to their homeland, the refugees who have gone through so much, will now be the key to progress and advancement in the villages they once left behind.

For DARE, our mission is easy: to give the youth that return the best opportunity to contribute and to create positive change in addiction outcomes in their communities upon return.

For them though, the decision to go home or move onward is a lot harder. 

It
It's never too young for prevention education!
Jan 20, 2015

A Flying Start to 2015

Karen New Year celebrations in the camp
Karen New Year celebrations in the camp

Dear Friends,

Well, we are blown away by your support of our Year End Campaign. We had donors from all over the world and a very successful campaign. Here is a snapshot of our success:

  • We came 3rd overall in the Year End Competition out of 250 organisation
  • We raised a total of $13,522 USD for our Step Back to Burma project
  • We doubled our fundraising effort from last year, and doubled the bonus we received – to $1000
  • We had the most individual donations of any organsation in the competition (119)
  • They haven’t stopped – people are still donating to the campaign!  

We can’t thank you enough for your support of our program during this campaign. The Year End campaign is our major public fundraising drive for the year and an important opportunity for us to raise much needed funds for our tightly run projects. With your generous contributions Step Back to Burma will be able to kick into gear ASAP in 2015.

Your money will go towards:

  • Training people from rural Burmese villages to provide prevention education and addiction treatment to their own people
  • Addiction education workshops in 20 rural Karen State Villages – often the first time many people have heard of “addiction”
  • Providing equipment and supplies for our staff travelling by foot, motorbike and truck to the villages
  • Security to ensure the safety of our staff while on the road
  • The distribution of locally designed posters informing villages of harmful drugs and addiction, extending our reach past the workshops.

If everything else goes to plan, we should be getting ready to make tracks in the next two months.

This month it was Karen Thanksgiving celebration. Pam went to the ceremony in the camps, and our team members celebrated at various events at home in Mae Sariang. The theme of Karen Thanksgiving is to pay respect and thanks for the year that has been and make wishes and plan for safety and good luck for the year ahead. That is exactly what we are doing. Along with all the Karen people who may be wishing for freedom from addiction this year, DARE Network is wishing to be able to help them.

Thank you for helping us help people struggling with addiction.

 

Best regards and Happy New Year to each and everyone one of our donors.

DARE Team 

P.S. Our GlobalGiving page will continue to be active, so we apprciate any and all "spreading of the word" you might be inclined to do. 

Dec 15, 2014

Yaba, Daba.. Don't!

Yaba Pills Credit: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)
Yaba Pills Credit: Karen Human Rights Group (KHRG)

In the most recent camp management meeting, camp leadership stressed the growing problem of youth substance abuse. One of the most concerning issues is the use of  “Yaba”, translating as “crazy medicine”, a methamphetamine pill packaged in candy like wrappers and sold openly and cheaply, especially in Karen State, attracting younger and younger children. Since the 2012 ceasefire it has been much easier to traffic drugs out of Burma and yaba has been flowing almost non-stop into Thailand villages, cities, and most worryingly for us, the refugee camps.

The pills are taken to increase energy to work and study or recreationally with friends to escape trauma, loss and boredom. Yaba is highly addictive and has severe psychological impacts, increasing with prolonged use.  Addiction to methamphetamines leads to violence, stealing and destruction of families and communities.

 Yaba, is relatively new in this area. Knowledge of its short term and long term effects, the addictive qualities and recognition of the pills is extremely low, accelerating the rates of uptake. Awareness education is needed across all 5 refugee camps and in the migrant community to instigate a reduction in uptake and stemming of use.

To tackle this DARE has begun, with the help of funding from Runwell and the Linda Quirk Foundation, to work on a new poster specifically aimed at youth yaba use. Two weeks ago we had a brainstorming session to come up with ideas for the design. Each of the staff took to big sheets of paper to draw what first came to mind when thinking about yaba.

There were central themes across all designs: loss, lack of control, sadness, death, help and hope. Our ideas will be translated into a professional design by a local artist and we hope to be printing in the early New Year.

This poster will go alongside a prevention education module as part our youth Frisbee Tournament.    

Our Ultimate Frisbee competitions are effective way to target the hard to reach teen population. These specifically educated teens, through the Frisbee Tournament, will be able to support our broader outreach and poster campaign further within the camps and migrant community.

Stay tuned for the final version of our poster! At the moment at drawings are a little indecipherable!

Thanks to all those who have supported and continue to support our project.

We are involved in the End of Year Campaign through GlobalGiving on our other project; Step Back to Burma. The yaba poster and prevention education will be a big part of that. If you are looking for a holiday season gift idea, look no further than a donation gift on that page! Link below.

You will see the link to our Facebook page below, like to receive more update photos and information! 

Many kind regards and happy holiday!

From the DARE team. 

Yaba sold in shop in Karen State. Credit: KHRG
Yaba sold in shop in Karen State. Credit: KHRG
School right next to shop that sells yaba (KHRG)
School right next to shop that sells yaba (KHRG)

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