Step Back to Burma Opening Ceremony
July 1st, 2015 marked the official opening ceremony of DARE Network’s Step Back to Burma training program! After months of preparation, finally the first DARE team to work in Burma have begun their 6-month long training in Mae La camp.
These 15 trainees will form a mobile Addiction Worker team that will work in Hpa’an District of the Karen State. Here they will become equipped to provide pioneering addiction treatment and prevention education programs to 20 rural villages where such services are vitally needed.
The Opening Ceremony was a day of celebration and a show of the strength of community support for DARE Network’s expansion into Burma. Conducted in both Karen and Burmese languages and attended by camp leaders, former clients, their families, core staff, trainees, trainers, the wider community of Mae La and religious leaders of three faiths – Buddhism, Islam and Christianity – the day was colored by a tangible sense of support and encouragement for the new trainees. Thanks in part to your generous donations, the fruits of ‘The Amazing Project – Stepping Back to Burma” are finally being realized in a substantial way.
Many leaders spoke –camp management, DARE core staff, religious leaders – along the lines of this message of hope for freedom from addiction and the vital importance of community and solidarity.
Trainees sang upliftingly and harmoniously together after having only met as a full group the day before –a sign of the strength of the team’s collective strength and support for one another in this brave harbinger project of DARE’s.
To solidify this, in one of the oldest shows of community, the Opening Ceremony closed with a shared meal.
After the ceremony some trainees spoke up about why they had personally felt moved to join this training and work as part of DARE’s new Addiction Worker team. Stories of how addiction had affected their communities, their families, and themselves were shared in this new extension of the DARE family. Most of the trainees come from Thai border camps, and with increasing likelihood of eventual repatriation of refugees within the camps, they know all too well the pressures that such stress can cause communities in terms of addiction and relapse.
The Opening Ceremony has taken place in the context of recent flairs of conflict in the Karen State, which has led to increased instability and displacement of many more people. For as long as narcotics remain a political tool used to fuel and fund conflict, rural villages within the Karen State will remain at high risk of suffering from the negative impacts of substance abuse. Proof of this can be seen in the 20-80% addiction rates found across rural villages in the region.
This conflict simultaneously has increased demands for DARE’s camp-based services, as more people seek refuge in the camps from bursts of conflict, whilst donors decrease services provided in camps as they shift funding into Burma to focus on in-country development instead. Addiction rates sore in camps and in rural villages in the Karen State.
The Amazing Project – Stepping Back to Burma, marks the beginning of DARE Network beginning to reach out to those communities afflicted by addiction within the Karen State, without reducing camp-based operations.
The next 6-months of training for these 15 new trainee Addiction Workers has now commenced, with the promise of hope for real change amongst ethnic communities in Burma.
Ultimate Frisbee Support Urgently Needed
August 1, 2015
Urgently Needed: $4,000 for Ultimate Frisbee Inter-Camp Tournament. One component of the DARE Network Teenagers for Kids program is Ultimate Frisbee.
Ultimate Frisbee has grown in popularity and is now played in 8 of the refugee camps along the Thai/Burma border.
In 2015, DARE Network will host an Inter-Refugee Camp Ultimate Frisbee Tournament. This is a great opportunity from youth from the 5 camps to convene for a day of competition and fun. However, to bring youth from all the camps together, funding is urgently needed, to the limited amount of equipment and accessibility of the game.
Please consider making a donation to support this unique opportunity for youth across the 8 camps.
Download our latest publications to learn more about what DARE has been doing in the communities along the Thai/Burma border
Staff Changes at DARE Network
August 01, 2015
DARE Network has over 60 staff in 5 refugee camps providing treatment and prevention education in their own communities. These addiction works have been trained by our Master Trainers in all aspects of addiction. They work hard and have saved many lives.
In our DARE Coordination office in Mae Sariang, our core staff make sure that everything runs smoothly, supplies are delivered, plans are carried out, people are paid, money is accounted for, proposals and reports are written, addiction training support is given, supervision is supplied, camps are visited regularly, strategies are made and problems are solved. They also work very hard for their communities and are highly skilled, caring and compassionate people. You are welcome to come and visit us.