Health  Myanmar Project #15563

The Amazing Project - Stepping Back to Burma

by DARE Network (Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Network)
Arrested Drug Addicts sent to Kachin Treatment
Arrested Drug Addicts sent to Kachin Treatment

Warm Greetings from Karen State

Although the majority of our population are the Karen people in Karen State, our Step Back to Burma project includes the goal of reaching out to other ethnic groups in other ethnic states of Burma.

 We decided to focus first on the Kachin people of northern Burma. There are a couple of reasons for this. First and foremost, the Kachin people suffer from the highest rates of addiction in the country. This is largely due to the Jade Mines and the Opium Poppy growing in the region. Jade is a rich resource in Burma and much loved by the Chinese people. The Jade mines of Kachin State produce some of the finest Jade in the world. This requires many workers to mine the Jade, which is a labourious and dangerous job. Many of the “ Jade Lords” pay their workers with Opium and Heroin. Heroin is refined in Northern Burma and readily available at a very cheap price. Addiction to Heroin is a major problem in Kachin State. Needles are shared and HIV is rampant. The need for intervention is great.

 The second reason for focussing on the The Kachin people is historical. During the Second World War, the Japanese invaded Burma with the support of General Aung San (Aung San Suu Kyi’s Father). The British Colonialists resisted with the help of the Karen and Kachin Armies. The Karen and Kachin were then brothers in arms and suffered together greatly at the hands of the Burman armies. Later Aung San realized the Japanese were a cruel partner and changed sides in return for Independence from Britain. From this time the Karen and Kachin have been sympathetic to each other and continue to suffer at the hands of the Burmese Military Regime. Currently, the Kachin people are under attack daily by the Burmese Military.

 The Kachin people are in majority, Christian. There are many churches in Kachin State including Caltholic and Protestant sects. The response to the addiction problem has been strong, well intended but largely misguided through misunderstanding of how addiction works. The Kachin are very organized and have an excellent infrastructure with many treatment centres set up. However, the treatment program consists of chained up cold turkey detox accompanied by reading of the bible.

 DARE Network has much to offer in terms of education and skills to this group that works hard to help their people. Our Program Director Law La Say and our Kachin Addiction worker Ay Lin, who is in Mae La Refugee camp travelled to Kachin State late in 2017, as a follow up to our approach to the Kachin, in 2016. They visited several treatment centres, did a needs assessment and learned from the Kachin workers. Now together they are planning a Detoxification Training in June to share our systems and provide skills to the Kachin Addiction workers, so that they can be more effective with their recovering addicts.

We will let you know how this goes.


Thank you so much for your support for our Amazing Project.


Needles everywhere.
Needles everywhere.
Cooking Sweet December Special Meal
Cooking Sweet December Special Meal

Welcome to Sweet December in Karen State.  At the DARE Centre in T'ree Po K'wee village the DARE staff and clients come together to enjoy the beginning of the cool season and the end of a year of hard work.

December is the time of year when the Karen people slow down to appreciate the good things that life has given them in spite of the harshness of living under the control of a brutal Military regime and the unfathomable loss they as a people have sustained.

Now, as the children are free from studies and the temperature becomes comfortable, is a time for family and friends to come together in love and to celebrate their culture with music, dancing, games and food.

At DARE Network, as our cycle of treatment for our recovering addicts comes to an end, it is also time to celebrate the success of people locked in the cycle of addiction breaking free from those bonds and starting their lives anew with hope and purpose.  It is a time of joy and alot of fun.

So as the rest of the world likewise gathers their loved ones together for year-end celebrations, we at DARE share ours with you.  You are our family too.  Your support has made all this possible and we thank you from all of our hearts.

Meanwhile in the refugee camps just over the border, people are struggling as the hope of returning home is stymied by the lack of progress of the Burmese Military.  They refuse to withdraw their troops from Karen State and people are still fearful of going back to their homeland.  The camps are in a state of extreme poverty and we at DARE need to keep supporting the refugees.

Please check out our Year-End Campaign on GlobalGiving and our new project, at the link included in this report.

Happy Holidays to all of you from all of us.

DARE Network


DARE Network Karen State Team
DARE Network Karen State Team

DARE Network 

We thought we would share with you the aims and results of our work on the Amazing Project in 2016

This whole report was written and compiled by our local DARE Network Staff on both sides of the Thai/Burma Border


Project Title: Step Back to Burma – Hpa’an  District, Myanmar

Project Location: Head Quarters – Hlaing Bwe, Hpa’an District, Mae Sariang, Mae Hong Son, Thailand 






1.Open DARE Network Office in Hpa’an Township

After talking with Karen Leaders and NLD representative, DARE Network has decided to apply for registration as a Local NGO with the new government of Myanmar. We will begin this process in January, in Hpa’an Township.  We will consult with other registered CBOs/CSOs in Hpa’an, make the required application and open a very small office.


Results: DARE decided that it would be more effective and useful to open its official office in the township of Hlaing Bwe, because of its central location between the DARE Centre and Hpa’an.  This way, staff could more easily access both the DARE Centre to support the DARE Team and to go to Hpa’ an for any meetings or coordination necessary.  As well, DARE can store supplies safely and dryly in the Hlaing Bwe office, with close neighbours to keep an eye on things if DARE Staff are away from the office.


2.Build DARE Training and Treatment Centre in T’ree Hpoe Kwee

DARE Network has acquired public land to build a Treatment and Training Centre near the village of T’ree Hpoe Kwee.  We worked closely with the village headman and the KNU and chose this location as most central to our 20 villages, close to the Thai Border and near the new road to Hlaing Bwe.  It is 54 miles to Hpa’an Township and 30 miles to Hlaing Bwe, from the DARE Centre. Please see attached map.


At the writing of this proposal, we also have a proposal into Global Neighbours to take on the cost of building, so that we can free Childs Dream funds for a generator for electricity, and agriculture materials at the DARE Centre for client therapy.  Should our proposal to Global Neighbours be denied we will need the budgeted funds from Childs Dream to be allocated to building the DARE Centre. It is our intention to build the DARE Centre in the 1st Quarter.  DARE will build the core structure including plumbing, toilets, kitchens, roof, cement floors, wood for a Treatment Centre and a separate Training Centre, that will also house DARE Staff.  Our 20 villages have committed to providing the bamboo to finish the Centres, thereby investing in their facilities and creating a sense of ownership.


Results:  DARE staff completed the building of the DARE Centre in May, 2016. This was done in coordination with the 20 villages, village leaders and coordinators.  


3.Train 20 Village Coordinators in Prevention Education, 80 times in 10 months

During the 12 months of 2015, DARE Network will form 5 teams of Addiction Workers from last years training in Mae La Camp.  Please see chart.

Each team will consist of 3 Addiction Workers that will rotate among the 20 villages and the DARE Centre.  Two mobile teams of Addiction Workers will train 20 Village Coordinators each grouped into 8 villages. That is according to location, 2 or 3 Village Coordinators will be trained together, in Prevention Education theory and activities.  The AW Teams will spend a week of each month, with each group of Village Coordinators. Over 10 months, we anticipate that the Addiction Workers will give 80 trainings to the 20 Village Coordinators.


Results: The following is a table of the number of times the DARE Mobile Team trained the village coordinators and the names of the villages, in the modules of the DARE Prevention Education program.


Activities Statistic of DARE Network Karen State Program (Hpa-an District)

Mobile Team provide Addiction Education information Training January to June 2016

VillageReceived Training from Mobile teams

Kler Day 5

Htee Ler Doh Village5

Meh T'Poo Hta Village5

Meh K'Taw Hkee Village4

Paw Baw Hkee Village4

Htee Th'Blu Hta Village5

Kyaw T'Lay Hko Village5

T'Ree Hpoh Kwee Village5

K'Mah Hta Village5

Meh Th'Moo Village5

Wa Mee Klah Village5

Htee Hpah Reh Village5

Htee Moh Hkee Village5

Khaw Thoh Hkee Village4

Htee Per Village4

Ta Kreh Ne Village5

Hpah Kay Kwee Village5

T'Wea Hko Village5

U Lah Kloh Village5

T'Moh Village5

4.Facilitate 20 Village Coordinators to share Prevention Education to 40 other villages, 400 times in 10 months

In the intervening weeks between trainings from the DARE Addiction Workers, the 20 Village Coordinators will take what they have learned to their own 20 villages and 20 new villages, two times each month. Village Coordinators will deliver 400 Prevention Education sessions. It is also anticipated that the Village Coordinators will have the opportunity to travel to the DARE Centre to observe Treatment and to have two or three intensive trainings in Prevention Education together, at the DARE Training Centre.


Results:  The Village Coordinators have completed 190 Prevention Education sessions. 2 Intensive trainings have taken place at the DARE Centre for the Coordinators.  The spin off has been that villagers in the villages where the Village Coordinators have completed their sessions, continue to train others.  The information is spreading exponentially by the villagers who have attended the sessions.


Village Coordinator Sharing addiction information to villagers and school January to June 2016

NoVillage Coordinators provide addiction information

To village & SchoolFemaleMaleTotal

1Kler Day Village

12 times11085195

2Htee Ler Doh Village

12 times7565140

3Meh T'Poo Hta Village

12 times12575200

4Meh K'Taw Hkee Village

8 times5744101

5Paw Baw Hkee Village

8 times6849117

6Htee Th'Blu Hta Village

8 times8865153

7Kyaw T'Lay Hko Village

8 times4956105

8T'Ree Hpoh Kwee Village

8 times149115264

9K'Mah Hta Village

8 times6245107

10Meh Th'Moo Village

8 times484593

11Wa Mee Klah Village

10 times6658124

12Htee Hpah Reh Village

10 times483583

13Htee Moh Hkee Village

10 times6445109

14Khaw Thoh Hkee Village

8 times583290

15Htee Per Village

10 times7535110

16Ta Kreh Ne Village

8 times552984

17Hpah Khay Kwee Village10 times493281

18T'Wea Hko Village

10 times523991

19U Lah Kloh Village

10 times6042102

20T'Moh Village

10 times7048118

5.Provide 2 cycles of Addiction Treatment in DARE Centre in T’ree Hpoe Kwee

The DARE Treatment Centre will be available for treatment in the last 3 Quarters of the year.  DARE Network Addiction workers will work in 5 teams of 3 workers each and rotate in and out of treatment and prevention education activities.  Each treatment cycle is 3 months long with a month preparation and a month in between to assess and accept clients. According to the assessments, some clients may engage in 6 week treatment cycles.  The DARE Addiction Workers are trained in assessments and can make the appropriate determinations of treatment plan.  To be modest in our first year, we hope to treat on average 20 clients per cycle. It is better to be thorough for success, especially when building our reputation in the area.


Results:  The first cycle of treatment started 4 days after the opening ceremony.  27 clients arrived over the first week, many supported by their families or village leaders.  As in the beginning of DARE’s program in Thailand, the most severely addicted and often violent people came to treatment.  It is a way to test DARE Network’s abilities to the extreme.  As we experienced this before, we were not surprised, but nevertheless, it was stressful for our workers to have so many hardcore addicts at once.  However, they worked together with our longtime experienced staff and managed the detox as best they could.  The village volunteers helped manage the hardest cases, in the nighttime.  All the clients made it through detox.  There already is a waiting list of clients for the next treatment cycle.


Clients treated in 1st Treatment Cycle


    0         27

1.9 Clients from  Pa Pun Township

2.2 Clients from Hlaing Bwe Township

3.2 Clients from Mae La Camp

4.4 Clients from Kwan Be village Hlaing Bwe Township

5.1 Client from Thai village

6.2 Clients from T’ree Hpoh Kwee village

7.7 Clients from P’Nwen Thaw village Hlaing Bwe Township


6.Core DARE Staff support, monitor and evaluate program outputs

DARE Network Core Staff, Master Trainers and support staff will support, monitor and evaluate the program over the 12 months. As our main office is still in Thailand, due to our work in the refugee camps, we will travel to Hpa’an and work with the Burma Liaison Officer to ensure that all logistics are met, that activities are full and on schedule, as much as possible, that coordination among CBOs/CSOs is advancing, that evaluation is done and that the program is meeting its goals.  The Burma Project Coordinator will work with DARE’s Program Coordinator to ensure that all financial aspects of the work are accountable and on time to the DARE Accountants.


7.Coordinate with CBOs and CSOs in Hpa’an District

During our trips and investigations in 2015, we noticed that although there are a number of great CBO/CSOs operating in Hpa’an District, there is not a lot of knowledge of each other’s programs.  Because DARE Network’s work is cross-cutting, we feel we are well positioned to help coordinate a sharing of information among our colleagues and organizations. In Hpa-an Township there is a higher level of understanding of what people are doing, but in the District and sub-District, where we work it is not so indicative.  We hope to help support a mechanism for sharing.


Results: DARE plans a workshop for CBOs/CSOs in Hpa’an in Q4 to get to know each other better and to share our work and plan with others how we can contribute to each others work.


8.Investigate value added activities to actors in Kachin State

Although it was our intention to visit Myitkyina in early December, 2015, we were not able to coordinate the visit with Childs Dream partners there, nor other contacts that we have.  DARE Network has received several requests to help in Kachin State.  For 2015, we felt we needed a longer timeline to put a worthwhile visit in place, as it is far and expensive to get to and back.  It is our intention to make this visit in 2016 to coordinate with Childs Dream Partners and to determine how we can add value to the work already being done.  It is our estimation that all groups working on prevention and treatment issues would benefit from our new training manual.  To be completely effective, it might be useful for us to do experiential detoxification workshops of two weeks, to maximize the use of the manuals. Our first step though is to go, look and learn. 

Lessons Learned


-All the Male staff gain their driving skill for the dry season and raining season.

-Staff have more relationship village coordinators and village headmen and villagers.

-Staffs are try the best they can to meet the goal.

-The addiction workers are less than the clients but they are unity and helping each other. Villagers and some clients also help the staff when some clients run away and climb the mountain during the clients have withdrawal symptoms. Neighbour villagers see, know and understand the problems of addiction because they see the treatment from DARE.

-Now people are coming to our treatment centre or phone us for to admit their addicts for treatment but we suggest them wait for the next treatment cycle and ask them start to reduce their using. Why we are not accepting their request is now the treatment already pass more than one month and ongoing into education part with treatment. 

-More people are heard our program even we are not going to their village and provide addiction information yet but they hear by people to people who know our program and share the information.

-Clients family are share treatment information to their community because after they see the benefit from treatment centre even we didn’t know.

-Village headmen are participate with us for to manage the client.

-We have close coordinate with Back Pack Health Worker Team for to back up our clients for with other medical problems such as malaria, skin disease etc… 

-For relapse prevention some of our staff travel to the clients villages to share information about addiction and prepare the families and villagers for the return of client after treatment


-As raining season some river are high and strong. 

-Some part of road are cut and very muddy. 

-According to weather some time need to adjust the training schedule.

-Most of clients are high withdrawal symptoms and run around the place.

-Clients are not coming on the time that we start.     



Interview 1.

Client story.

He is a young who lives in Laing Bwen Township in Karen state. Based on this story he started to use drugs when he has 13 years old. He was persuaded by his friend to drink the water of toddy in the school. This was a natural alcohol which is very popular in Burma. People could get easily because it was very cheap. Especially for the young people, it is the basic of starting how to use different kinds of drugs.

A few year later he was fire by the teacher because of did not follow the school regulations. And then he went to Bangkok for earning money. Unfortunately he met with an uncle who could drink and gambling. Anyway he had to rely on him because there is no the documentation for travelling. Sometimes the oldest people asked him to go and buy for them. In particularly for the special day and New Year it was a great day for them. In addiction most of his friends were using drugs. 

He used many different kinds of drugs. Such as beer, necrotic, Yaba, ice etc... But the most addicted is Yaba. At first he planned to find money for his family. But when he was addicted he could not save and spent it all for Yaba. It cause 2500 kyat per one tablet. Because of it his life was getting worse and his mind full of darkness. He went to the hospital to buy the medicine for cure himself. But it did not work. Because there is no schedule for him to take the medicine.

Fortunately one of his friend was contacted and informed him about the value of DARE has conducted the process. He was really interested and confidently to stop using drug. He was expressed his gratitude and thanks to DARE which is the organization that guide him in a good way. It is not only the process of treatment. It is including with del

Mud surfing
Mud surfing

The Amazing Project: Stepping Back to Burma is thriving in Karen State.  This year we have already run one treatement cycle in our Karen State DARE Centre and are in the midst of training 10 more Addiction Workers from the surrounding areas.

The rainy season is now underway.  Our Mobile Outreach Team who travel to 60 villages in the districts around T'ree Poe Kwee village, where our centre is, must walk and motorcycle through the jungles and dirt roads.  More recently, "development" has brought tarmacked roads, cheaply applied with low technology.  These roads look great and function adequately in the dry season, but come the rainy season the downpour and off-flows from the mountains undermine the footings of the roads and they collapse.  Because they have removed the natural rock from the path under these new roads, the mud becomes a slick slide.  Dangerous.

Our teams are intrepid and skilled.  They do their best to reach their targets and share their knowledge.  Our Core Team must also travel through the villages to ensure that the work and the funds are being effective.  Likewise they must travel through these challenging conditions.

Keep them all in your thoughts and hope for their safety.

all best

The DARE Team

Sharing our Training Manual with Kachin Workers
Sharing our Training Manual with Kachin Workers

Last December, Law La Say (our Program Coordinator), Alin (our Kachin Addiction Worker living in Mae La Camp) and I took a journey to Myitkyina, which is the capitol of Kachin State, in northern Burma.

 Kachin State is renowned for its gemstones including the famous Mogok Rubies and of course, the much sought after Jade. Jade is mined south of Myitkyina in the mountains by workers, who are paid poorly or paid in Heroin.

 Yes, Heroin. Kachin State has the highest rate of Heroin addiction in Burma. Law La Say and Alin managed to visit one the shooting galleries (places where people go together to buy and use heroin) outside one of the mines. They secretly filmed the addicts and sellers. We can’t show you this on GlobalGiving because of the danger of doing so, but we can tell you that used needles are everywhere and at least 60% of the population is addicted to heroin.

 The reason for our journey to Kachin State was to share our experiences and exchange information with the local Organizations that are trying to deal with this epidemic of drug abuse. We were able to meet with highly organized community based groups, who have put a lot of infrastructure in place to treat drugs addicts, from the Kachin communities.

 Like the Karen people, the Kachin have been oppressed and murdered by the Military Regime of Burma for decades. Even as I write this report, the Burmese Army is attacking villages in Eastern Kachin State. 20,000 people in the area have been forced to flee into China and Thailand, as a result of these attacks.

 We found we had a lot in common. The difference perhaps was our 17 years of experience of treating addiction in the Karen Refugee Camps vs. the Kachin’s long experience with the fallout of heroin addiction.

 In the spirit of friendship and cooperation, we shared our Addiction Training Manual, in Burmese language, with the community based Organizations we met. We have offered them the potential of training, for their workers, about our non-medical, culturally based detox. Their current detox systems are also non-medical but offer little intervention to mitigate the withdrawal symptoms.

 To this end we are currently building a Training House next to our Treatment Centre in T’ree Poe Kwee Village in Hlaing Bwe District, Karen State, Burma. We hope to be able to offer Addiction Worker Training to other Ethnic Groups in Burma either at our Training House or through our Mobile Training Teams.

 Until there is genuine peace in Burma, we will continue to cooperate on the ground as we can with all the oppressed groups, as we can.

 A big thank you to all of you who make this work possible.


From all of us at DARE Network

Training House building materials being delivered
Training House building materials being delivered
DARE Centre in Karen State
DARE Centre in Karen State
Setting the foundation
Setting the foundation
Sorting the materials
Sorting the materials
Training house under construction
Training house under construction



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Organization Information

DARE Network (Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Network)

Location: Mae Sariang, Mae Hong Son - Thailand
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Pam Rogers
Mae Sariang, Mae Hong Son Thailand
$37,913 raised of $50,000 goal
647 donations
$12,087 to go
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