Written By Enock Balakasi
Concerned with high cases of drug abuse in Malawi, Hope Counseling and Resource Center, a social interaction and behavior change organization based in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe, is helping to reshape young people aged between 10 and 24, restoring hope for a better future in their lives.
The organization has since vowed to fight Drug and alcohol abuse as one way of curbing the spread of HIV and AIDS among the youths in the country.
In an interview with Smash news, Hope Counseling and Recreation Centre Board Chairperson Pilirani Ndaferankhande said the targeted age group is most vulnerable to HIV and AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Infections, crime, drug and alcohol abuse.
She noted that most of the youths involved in drug and alcohol abuse come from single parent families. “Many parents do not have time to hear from their children because of several circumstances surrounding them as such the children end up in such immoral behaviors,” she explained.
Since it’s established in 2016, over 250 young people have so far benefited from the organization’s social interaction sessions. She therefore pledged to be following them after the lessons to ensure that they are moving forward and contributing to development of this country.
Hope Counseling and Resource Center works with adult professionals such as nurses, pastors and social workers who voluntarily impart their knowledge about life to the youths to inspire transformation and responsible growth in them.
According to Ndaferankhande, curbing the problem the organization has been conducting guidance and counseling lessons to young people aged from 14 to 27 to assist them on how they can refrain from such practices.
Participants are also sensitized on the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse, good behavior, sexual reproductive health and hygiene and reporting defilement and sexual abuse.
“30% of the youths we deal with have confessed that they are using alcohol and drugs. They even steal money from their parents or guardians just to buy these substances,” explained Ndaferankhande.
She continued, “Sometimes we take the social interaction sessions to churches, market places and locations looking for the youths especially those with a single parent. Most of these feel they are not loved and find solace in drugs, alcohol and committing crimes”.
Ndaferankhande said her organization is making significant progress, saying more parents are now releasing their children and even asking for more social interaction sessions.
She disclosed that the next sessions will focus on effects of pornography and masturbation. “Half of these youths have smart phones and have confessed to us that they watch pornography. Some of them are actually addicted to it and it is incumbent upon us to put them back on the right track,” said Ndaferankhande.
The Hope Counseling and Resource Center Board Chairperson said she has a passion for the welfare of the youths and hopes that this is what will sustain her organization even though it is currently not receiving any funding.
She appreciated other stakeholder’s efforts in offering hope to those affected by drug and alcohol abuse saying her organization is keen to collaborate with other institutions to help alleviate the problem.
Drug issue is part of the modern lifestyles problem caused by people getting ingrained on personal issues.