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 17, 2013

And the beat goes on...

Training
Training

TRAINING!  TRAINING! TRAINING!

DARE Network is in the midst of its biggest Addiction Worker training since 2008.  We are gathering our resources, upgrading our materials and creating incredible teams of workers, who will not only continue our work in the refugee camps but contribute to the expansion of our work into Burma and particular Karen State, when the conditions are right.

4 of our "Master" trainers are currently in Mae La Camp, half way through a 6 month training of new workers from Nu Poe, Umpiem Mai, Mae La, Mae Ra Moo, Mae La Oon and our Migrant Worker areas.  The 30 new trainees are learning the theory and then will have the experiential learning through all of our programs, including treatment, working with our Youth Teams and community education.  They will learn the skill from our trainers in their own languages with the training materials developed over our 14 years of working on the Thai/Burma Border.  

When the training is finished, the new Addiction Workers will return to their respective areas to continue to contribute to the well-being of their communities.

Our core staff are also busy working on a final version of our training manual so that we can share our work inside Burma and even in third countries, where Burmese refugees have resettled all over the world.

All of this is a big undertaking for us.  We want you to know we appreciate your continued support for our Youth Program and please know it makes a difference every day. 

Links:

Jun 17, 2013

What Other People Say

A Happy Grin
A Happy Grin

Dear Friends,

Your on-going support means alot to our program and allows us to generate further support.  There is great interest in the Burmese Refugees and the root causes of their plight.  We often have visitors to our programs including researchers and donors.

We want to share with you some of the outside reaction we get from people who visit DARE Network in the refugee camps.

Refugees Seek Freedom From Addiction on the Thai-Burma Border

Posted: 24/05/2013 13:23

2013-05-24-burma1.jpg

*Lucinda Lai [2012] is a Gates Cambridge Scholar doing an MPhil in Sociology. For more information about her work, click here. Picture caption: As part of a camp-based mental health workshop, a student's sketch of the drug and alcohol problems that she observes in her community of refugees at the Thai-Burma border.

Refugee camps are supposed to provide shelter from conflict and persecution, but, for Burmese refugees in Thailand, life in camp introduces a whole new set of dangers. These refugee camps have become a fertile breeding ground for drug and alcohol addiction.

I visited the Thai-Burma border camps last year as part of my work with a non-profit organisation that is dedicated to building up mental health services for refugees. I found that individuals turned to drugs and alcohol as a way to cope, however dysfunctionally, with the stress of protracted confinement in a place completely lacking in the opportunities for productive or meaningful living.

Alcohol is the most commonly abused drug in the camps. It is cheap and readily available in the form of homebrewed distilled rice liquor. These home brews can be fairly toxic with things like pesticides, fertilisers and rubber thrown in to make the concoction more potent or ferment more quickly. Research has shown that alcohol is used not only for recreation, but also as self-medication for pain and to cope with the boredom of life in camp, the depression and anxiety associated with the loss of traditional social structures and the stress of adapting to unfamiliar and austere living conditions.

In interviews with residents of the largest of the Thai camps, Mae La, some men revealed that they resort to substance abuse because they feel deprived of their typical means of livelihood. "We have only alcohol," one man said, "It's like being in a farm [...] surrounded by a fence." Many of these disenfranchised young men felt that they had no other avenues to express their frustration. "There is only alcohol to get release," said one.

Male respondents lamented the loss of their normal roles as providers for the household. Female respondents described the effects of alcohol abuse as adding stress and pressure on their families. Gender-based violence, crime, the serious neglect of children and the costs of alcohol and substance use on the family's finances all pose significant challenges to mental health. One camp resident put it this way: "The majority of addicts are men. Because of this, women are mentally ill."

On the other hand, camp-based drug and alcohol recovery programmes gather hope from their work, seeing it as an expression of non-violent resistance against the former military dictatorship. Indeed, Burma (also known as Myanmar) stands out as a major source of methamphetamine pills and opiates in Southeast Asia today, according to a report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Burma is the second largest opium grower in the world after Afghanistan.

Conflicts

Almost all of the opium Burma produces is grown in the eastern part of the country, in the states of the Shan and Kachin ethnic minorities. This area is also the site of long-standing conflicts between the minority groups' armies and the central government's military. The instability caused by these conflicts fuels the growth of opium and heroin production and is suggestive of a link between the highly profitable drug trade and the current plight of Burmese refugees.

One community-based recovery programme, DARE Network, has had remarkable success in the treatment of addicts in camp. They are a local organisation that developed in response to the urgent need to bring an end to the drug problems. DARE Network makes use of Burmese herbal medicines, acupuncture, herbal saunas, traditional massage and culturally appropriate therapies in their detoxification and rehabilitation programmes. They are guided by the belief that "recovery is a powerful weapon against those who benefit from the drug trade". Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction returns people to their communities, and healthy communities are more resilient to manage whatever political and economic transformations are yet to come.

At the individual level, addiction is directly related to feelings of powerlessness. But, there is also the growing realisation that addiction plays a role in the bigger story of Burmese refugees: persecution, armed conflict, instability, a profitable drug trade and undemocratic rule. It is only by supporting those who are trying to break free from the cycles of addiction that full and inclusive participation in the creation of a free Burma for all will be possible.

We feel this will give you some more insight into the DARE Network programs and we hope you will continue to support our work.

From all of us at DARE. 

Links:

Jun 10, 2013

Amazing People Thank You. We did it Together.

World Anti-Drug Day in Camp
World Anti-Drug Day in Camp

Hello Everyone,

This will be our final report on our project Rebuild Flooded Burma Refugee Camp Recovery Centre.  All of you have contributed to our goal and although we may not have met the financial goal, we certainly were able to rebuild our DARE Centres, thanks to your generosity.

The refugee staff of DARE supported by the local camp management and of course our intrepid Core Staff bringing in supplies and encouragement did the labour, along with former clients from our Addiction programs. Now all is safe and secure.  Hopefully there will be no more storms, floods, fires.  People have enough suffering already.

The situation in Burma remains unstable.  It may be a few years yet before the Burmese refugee can return safely home.  DARE will continue to offer our Addiction prevention education and treatment programs, in an environment of extreme insecurity.

If you want to continue to support our work please see our project Burmese Refugee Youth Prevent Addiction and Violence, here on GlobalGiving.   We would appreciate anyone who is giving a recurring donation to transfer their gifts to this project.

Thank you once again from all of us at DARE Network on the Thailand/Burma Border

Links:

 

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