Sustainability is the catch word of International Development and Aid. Often it is meaningless in areas affected by war as people have been unable to sustain themselves for years, if not decades. As result, organizations working with war affected people often become dependent on International Aid to operate. This dependence sets up a power dynamic that can keep organizations from realizing their potential and ultimately their autonomy.
The recent ceasefire between the Burmese Army and the Karen Freedom Fighters has opened the door to safe passage of drugs from Northern Burma straight to Karen State, instead of through the Golden Triangle. Here is a no man's land. Drug mules will carry the heroin/meth/opium for a pittance. Many ethnic people of Burma are exposed to drugs they have never seen before. Villages inside Burma are anecdotally said to have addiction rates as high as 80%. For the drug lords profits are everything.
DARE Network is dedicated to helping prevent and treat addiction among its own people. DARE has operated in the refugee camps on the Thai side of the border for 16 years and always dependent on donors for food for their treatment centre. Now operating inside Karen State, Myanmar we want to help our clients experience healing using organic agriculture at our DARE Centre. This project will also help our program to sustain itself for the future, as the program can grow its own food.
International Aid dependence often brings with it a power imbalance. Big agencies regularly ignore indigenous ways & knowledge and impose western ideologies onto their beneficiaries. To break free of this dependence and power, DARE hope that their Addiction Prevention and Treatment programs can be owned and run by the people it serves. By growing our own organic food, we can rebuild healthful lives and restore skills lost through generations of war. Help us help ourselves.