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.
Sep 7, 2016

Being young.

Jumping high
Jumping high

Being young. On the doorstep to adulthood. The early stages in a person’s life are some of the most formative and vulnerable ones. This is the time when we develop and grow into habits that will follow us for the rest of our lives. We as human beings have no say in where, when and how we get to be born. Some are born into time and place of conflict, violence and instability, whilst others emerge into a life of stability, access to resources and a wide array of possibilities at their feet. The arbitrary event of coming into existence is one widely regarded as luck; good or bad. For children and adolescents being born in, or growing up in a refugee camp, their existence must indeed be regarded as a case of bad luck, and a hard start to life. Existence in a refugee camp can be monotonous and uniform, and these external factors might lead one to fall into self-destructive behaviour such as substance abuse. Luckily persons and organisations work hard to break down these harmful social conditions, and empower young people in the refugee camps.

DARE Network is present in five refugee camps in Thailand, housing refugees from adjacent Burma. The refugees who reside in the camps are ultimately left with three choices; seek asylum in Thailand, repatriate to a third-party nation state or voluntarily return to Burma. The camp perceived as an intermediary station where people sit and wait before they are able to make a choice, is an easy analogy to grasp at. The United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees prognoses indicate that due to the somewhat stable situation in Burma, a large number of refugees residing in refugee camps inside Thailand, will be able to return back to Burma during 2016. However for the youth population who still reside in the camps, DARE's Burmese Youth Program represent a possibility for them to break with the monotonous waiting and become important members of the camp community.

The Burmese Youth Program educates adolescents in the social consequences of drug use; both on personal and community levels, and help them develop capacity to advise other members of the community in the consequences of substance abuse. Education is just one part of this two-part project; the initial allure for many youths being the game of Ultimate Frisbee. Once a year DARE's Youth Program called Teens for Kids organises an Ultimate Frisbee tournament across the five refugee camps, where teams get to compete against each other. Before the tournament begins, participants are quizzed on their knowledge on substance abuse and related consequences, and are awarded prizes for correct answers. After the tournament, participants who are not yet a part of the program, are encouraged to participate in DARE activities.. The Teens for Kids Program also invites participants to engage in prevention education sessions in their schools, working with their teachers and other students to help young people understand the consequences of substance abuse and to explore alternatives with them.

The feeling of contribution to the community, the chance to participate in the big Ultimate Frisbee tournament and important substance education are the three legs that make the program work. By the end of 2015 the program had 250 participants in the ages between 16-25 years, in five refugee camps; Mae La Oo, Mae Ra Moe, Mae La, Umpieum and Nu Poe, situated in the border region between Burma and Thailand. Respondents among the youths in the program rank drug education and the chance to reinvest themselves into the community, chief amongst the things they took away from the program.

The program enables young people who are already in a difficult situation to start with, to help their community by teaching and participating in substance education and by practicing in a sport that supports gender equality and conflict resolution.

 

The Burmese Youth Prevent Substance Abuse Project is thankful to its donors, who make it possible for DARE to create opportunities for the Burmese youths in the refugee camps, and help them create a positive impact on their own communities.

Links:

Aug 9, 2016

First Treatment Cycle in Karen State...Ever

DARE Centre, Karen State
DARE Centre, Karen State

On May 10th officials from Karen State in Burma, National League for Democracy representatives, local residents, DARE Network Core staff and the first brave Addiction Workers opened the DARE Network Centre in the jungle.

30 clients began detox and treatment in the bamboo and wooden centre in the mountains, in the western part of Karen State, Burma, near the border with Thailand.

Just as in 2002 when DARE Network received their very first clients in Thailand, people with the most severe addictions were sent for treatment.  Long-term addicts and alcoholics arrived full of fear and drugs and alcohol.  The DARE Network Addiction workers prepared to be tested by the addicts themselves, as well as the communities who helped them come.  Expectations are high and the pressure is on.

The detox is trying for all.  People have been using alcohol all their lives and many are addicted to methamphetamines and opium, as well.  The DARE Addiction workers apply their skills and their tools.  Clients are reassured as the withdrawal symptoms begin.  Assesments are made, decisions are made.  Acupunture is given and herbal medicine dispensed.  Food is offered.  Attention is paid 24 hours a day for the next 10 days.

Most clients start to feel better after a week.  Some are not so lucky and need special care.  One even runs away into the jungle, at night.  The headman of the village and the DARE Staff send out a party to find him, which they do huddling in the forest, not know where he is.  They bring him back safely.  

At DARE there are no bonds, no fences, no locks.  The only chains are a chain of people working together with dedication and love to help people move away from  the chains of addiction.

The next 3 months are filled with education, therapy, art, music, exercise and healthful food.  Families come for visits and can hardly believe the changes in their loved ones.  Their hope is palpable. They are also given education and knowledge of what to expect, how they can help.

And finally, graduation day arrives.  Celebration of recovery.  And now off to their homes and families.

The DARE Staff are tired but satisfied.  A little break and onto the next.

Clients and families
Clients and families
Jun 9, 2016

DARE Network's Annual Report

Even as DARE Network continues to work in the refugee camps on the Thai/Burma Border, we are looking forward to carrying our Teens for Kids program over the border into Karen State where we have opened a treatment and training centre in the jungle.

 

20 Villages in Karen State now are providing Prevention Education to their communities, trained by our intrepid DARE Workers. Our next step is to have our Addiction Workers identify some Teen Leaders and start to introduce them to the process of interacting with their Peers.  These kids have never had any kind of contact with the kind of programming offered by DARE Network and the Karen people who work in the organization.

 

Our first tool will be the Frisbee Disc.  We use this tool and the game of Ultimate Frisbee to engage young people, both boys and girls.  Once they are enjoying the game, we add in substance abuse education.  The young people then can share with their families, friends and schoolmates. They can learn what normal drinking is and the great dangers of methamphetamines, heroin and opium.

In the meantime, we want to share with you, our donors, who make it all possible, our 2015 Annual Report.  Please take the time to read it and see what and where you have contributed and how we have used your money. We promise the report is not boring.

THANKS FROM ALL OF US AT DARE NETWORK

Links:


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