Project #15563

The Amazing Project - Stepping Back to Burma

by DARE Network (Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Network)
Yoga at the Karen State DARE Centre
Yoga at the Karen State DARE Centre

2016 realized a long awaited hope for DARE Network. DARE opened the first ever addiction prevention treatment and training centre in Karen State, Myanmar. After 16 years of work on the Thai/Burma Border returning “home” became a reality.


The work was not without its challenges. Fighting erupted part way through the year, breaking the ceasefire between the Myanmar army and one of the splinter ethnic armies. The rainy season showed us how very difficult it is to get from place to place, where there are no roads or infrastructure.


On the other hand, inside the rural back roads of Karen State, people came together to support our work from the local government authorities to the volunteers in the villages eager to learn and share.

We reached most of our goals for 2016, revised others and overestimated some. Overall, it has been a great success and we thank you all for for your vision and support.C



-        Sometime difficult for transportation during raining season.

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

-        Most of clients are high withdrawal symptoms .

-        Security issues. Fighting happen near our target area and make the concerns for our staffs and clients. During this time effect our treatment plan some.

-        By the nature of human being staffs feel fear when they hear the fighting and their parents too. Some want to back to parent home.  



-        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.

-        Because of the fighting we all staffs feel that the local authority are try to encourage us and back up for security and sharing the regular information.

-        We get to learn for the future if happen we have able to make our plan for how to move ourselves and clients to safety place.

-        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 during detoxification.

-        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…

-        We get request from other village to set up DARE Network program in their village.



DARE Network treated 50 clients in Karen State during 2016. These clients came from many places telling us that the new treatment centre already is known widely throughout the area.

We are open to treat both men and women and although only one woman came to treatment, it is a good sign that women will come more often in the future. Our experience shows us that we attract about 10% wmen clients. This can be improved upon with some effort and attention to child-care.

 Our original plan was 20 clients per cycle but we upgraded that target to 35 clients. We reached our original goal but overshot our expectations for a first year. We treated 50 clients in total. That being said, treatment was also complicated by nearby fighting between Military supported troupes and a faction of the DKBA, causing us to lose some of our clients who left treatment in fear. Our staff and the majority of the clients remained and completed the treatment cycles.

Client’s Remarks

  1. I start to use and drink alcohol since I was teenager because as you may know from other people when you are working in forest and in elephant camp is very heavy and tired. Many workers there are use YaBa or alcohol. First I try from them and I become addicted to alcohol for many years till I can’t stop. My mother worry for me ask me to change my job and to stop drinking but I can move from there. I really want to stop for me and my parent. One day one of my cousin came to visit my parent and talk about what she is working and my parent know she is working and helping for people who want to stop drinking. And my mother ask somebody go to my work place and share the new to me. When I hear that I feel hope and understand how much my mother love me to stop drinking. So I decide to come to treatment center with my cousin. During treatment I was very sure that I could stop drinking. Now I decide to continue to stay at treatment center and will attend the addiction worker training and to become worker. I talk to my mother she was very happy to hear that. Now I got new life.


  1.  2.  When I was in village I am not using any drugs or drinking but smoke tobacco. When I went to Malaysia for work in the construction on the first year I still didn’t use but later my friend ask me to try ICE for to get the experiences. At first I refuse and one day I start to try and continue using for a few year. I stay and worked at Malaysia for 5 years and move to Thailand for new work. At Bangkok I start to use Yabba till I can know my friends and they send back me to my village. I don’t know I arrived to DARE treatment center but they told me at the beginning I was completely out of control and people in village said me I was crazy. Now I know everything and the only thing I didn’t know is how I am here. Now I am Ok and maybe next year I will come again. My parents will be happy when I back to village. Thanks to all DARE staffs.

We are getting ready to start our treatment program for 2017.  In addition, we are building a Training Centre to train more addiction workers from Karen State and to offer training to other ethnic peoples from all over Burma. But more of that later.

In the meantime, know that your donation makes a difference and every bit of it gets spent directly on the work and the beneficiaries.  Thank you so much

DARE Network



Client (left) is reunited with his family.
Client (left) is reunited with his family.

It’s time to bring an update from our treatment centre in Karen state, Burma. By the end of August our first ever treatment cycle at our new treatment centre in T’ree Hpoh Kwee came to an end, and the 27 clients were reunited with their families at the graduation celebration. For some of the clients it was the first time in three months that they got to see their families, since the rainy season floods had destroyed the roads, making it cumbersome to travel.

The reunion was an immense experience to clients and family members alike.


The rewarding feeling after a job well done, and the anticipation before the next treatment cycle set to start by September was soon replaced by a feeling of alarm, as fighting broke out in Karen state on the 4th of September. As a consequence of the conflict, roads were closed, which resulted in fewer clients being able to make the trip to the treatment centre. Despite the armed conflict, DARE Network staff stayed at the treatment centre, allowing for a new treatment cycle to begin. Currently 19 clients are being treated at the centre in T’ree Hpoh Kwee, set to graduate by the beginning of December 2016. The conflict cooled down by the end of September, and neither clients nor DARE Network staff was injured during the fighting. The safety of clients and staff are of the highest concern to us, and during the time of conflict, a communication system was established, with hourly updates on the situation. The communication chain was a collaboration between our staff at the treatment centre in T’ree Hpoh Kwee, DARE Network village coordinators in 20 Karen villages, local authorities and locals, and it helped us qualify the decisions being made to keep clients and staff safe. DARE Network would like to thank all the people who helped us keeping up the treatment during the recent conflict.

Currently the conflict has ceased, and we hope that the relative stability will allow for more clients to attend our 3rd treatment cycle that will begin by the start of January 2017.

Before the next treatment cycle, we will be putting a lot of effort into disseminating our treatment offers at the T’ree Hpoh Kwee centre, through our 20 village coordinators, village leaders, local authorities, and through our monthly education and prevention education in the 20 villages that we are present in, in Karen state. The recent events are a testimonial as to how motivated, and hardworking our staff in Karen state is, and gives us great sense of pride and hope for the future. 

Clients and their family at the gradutation.
Clients and their family at the gradutation.
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

Law La Say and all of our core staff have just returned from Karen State.  We have just opened the first ever Addiction Prevention, Treatment and Training Centre in Karen State, thanks to all of you. The opening ceremony was well attended by local organizations and representatives of the Karen Government.  Please read our 2015 Annual Report .Click on the link and read all about it. It's not boring.

Now our Addiction Workers have begun our first treatment at our new Treatment Centre.  Addicts who inside Burma will no longer have to cross the border into the Thai Refugee camps to get treatment from DARE Network.

Our work continues in the refugee camps as well.  The Thai Government recently announced that repatriation of the refugees will occur within two or three years.  We will see.  In the meantime we are prepared and able to offer our Camp Addiction Workers employment when they finally make it home.

The boys on the bikes between villages
The boys on the bikes between villages

Here we go.  Training of Addiction Workers for Karen State completed in 2015 and the Karen Village Coordinators have learned basic addiction prevention skills.  Now, we build the first Addiction Treatment Centre ever, in Karen State, Myanmar.(also known as Burma)

Our Program Coordinator, Law La Say and all our support staff sent 15 of our best Addiction Workers out of the refugee camps and over the river that deliniates the border between Thailand and Karen State, back home for the first time.  The workers and staff are excited beyond words and have gone right to work.  We have divided our team into two for now.  Half the 15 are providing Prevention Education Training in the 20 Villages we have targetted in the mountains of Karen State, Hpa'an District, Hlaing Bwe Sub-District.  The other half of the team are building our DARE Centre that will provide treatment to people in the district and education to over 40 villages, in 2016.  Please look at the attached photos to see the progress.

Law La Say has worked with DARE Network for over 15 years now, dedicating the prime of his life to the work.  It means he often has to leave his family for weeks or months at a time.  This guy is brilliant. He speaks 4 languages and can coordinate all the work of DARE calmly, with a steady hand.  He is much loved and respected by the staff and the Karen Leaders.

The DARE Centre will be completed by May, just as the heat is broken by the start of the rainy season.  The rains make travel so difficult on the mountain tracks.  We have invested in 3 small motorbikes to transverse the mountains, as trucks and other vehicles cannot pass through the mud.

Thanks to so many of you who have helped us along DARE's road to prevent the addiction issues that are plagueing Myanmar.  If we stop one kid from trying methamphetamines or help one person recover from substance abuse, we have done this in partnership with you.  Good on you.

Don't forget to check out the photos.

from all of us at DARE Network

Planning on paper
Planning on paper
Planning on site.
Planning on site.
Ready to build.
Ready to build.
Prevention Education in the Villages
Prevention Education in the Villages
DARE Workers walking to next village
DARE Workers walking to next village

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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
$36,190 raised of $50,000 goal
553 donations
$13,810 to go
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