When we found ourselves with spare medical supplies kindly donated by Singapore sponsors we were extremely happy to be able to pass them on to a good cause. Antibiotics, antinflammatory medicines, bandages and a first aid kit were taken to the Sober Recovery Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre in Jorpati next to Boudhanath.
The centre is itself a casualty of the earthquake. Dependent on local donations for its future, the rehabilitation centre has seen income dwindle following the earthquake. Normal supplies – like first aid materials – have become a luxury as the centre struggles to keep going.
The centre is small and overcrowded but it performs a much needed service fro people struggling with addiction. Twenty nine men and fourteen women are permanent residents, with four others coming in daily for non-residential support. They range in age from 14 to 70 years old. Younger people have mainly drug related addictions while for older residents the issue is usually with alchohol.
Tsering Wangdi, the founder of Sober, has been a drug addict himself and has been in jail for years. “When I started to volunteer in rehabilitation, I found out that my experience helps other people, and then I found the meaning of my life, the purpose of my life. Before, I thought I’m useless, worthless. I attempted suicide two times. But my life changed when I started to serve people.”
Tsering Wangdi’s program has helped many people already. In the seven years since it opened 1500 people have been through the centre. Today programs include classes with invited psychotherapists, religious representatives and experts in the treatment of people with drug addictions. There are also therapy sessions – drama and art-therapy, which Tsering Wangdi conducts himself.
Our contribution was small but we wish Tsering Wangdi every success with his work.