For the youth of Nagaland #Being BASIC
Youngs’ Club was established in 2010 by Jenpu Rongmei and friends in memory of his brother & dear friend Late David Rongmei (Babuna) who died from drug abuse. Youngs’ Club work with the Young people in the field related to Health and empowering Youth to promote active citizenship as to abstain youth from Anti social activities as well as from drugs.
BASIC: What is the current scenario of drug abuse issues in the state or the area you are working in?
Jenpu: Since we mostly work in Dimapur area we could see that most of the drug users use only oral like SP, RP and Ganja but again the current scenario of drug abuse has improved. We find less IDUs, less hot spot, less death report by over dose, but still we really need to focus on primary intervention by organizing different youth programs.
BASIC: Do you think the issues are getting better or worse? Why?
Jenpu: I think the issue is getting better comparing to before scenario because of much awareness and the greater role played by NGOs. But we cannot confirm that the issue has totally changed, there are still some people who are still into drug abuse. I would say honestly as long as the world exists drugs will exist too. All we (NGOs, Society, and Police) can do is to minimize the user, that’s all.
BASIC: What’s the age group or status of people you are working with/for?
Jenpu: We work directly with 4 years to 35 years group while above 35 years indirectly.
BASIC: Please share some of your organisation future plans.
Jenpu: To set up a Youth Friendly Centre (if possible by this year 2014). Youth friendly centre will provide health information, computer course for the underprivileged youth at minimum charge, Library centre, skill training, vocational training, workshop and seminars and various youth opportunity program.
Under project Care & Hope an education centre will set up to provide free tuition to the children. Self Help Groups for the drop out students, underprivileged youth and women who are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and affected by drugs user and alcoholic husbands.
BASIC: What do you think is the main reason or cause youth are getting into drugs?
Jenpu: Some are into drugs without knowing the consequences of addiction, some by peer pressure and also under the influential of colony/village environment, some out of frustration due to family problems and some of unemployment reasons. Lack of opportunity, less recreational place and employment problem are the major reasons.
BASIC: Major challenges and struggles that you/organisation has gone through or any that you/organisation is facing currently.
Jenpu: As an active and dedicated youth led NGO we feel every activity and program is a challenge and also a struggle but somehow we face it. Currently the struggle is lack of Resources.
BASIC: What according to you are the best or good solutions to address drug abuse issues in the Northeast India region or the state?
Jenpu: Curriculum on drugs should be included in every school/college books, more recreational places should be set up, more rehabilitation should come up, primary intervention program should be created and implemented among the young people.
BASIC: Do you think drug abuse and HIV & AIDS issues are being given importance and priority in Nagaland? Please elaborate.
Jenpu: If we look into the work under the guide lines of NACO like target intervention project with IDU, CSW, MSM, TRUCKERS, MIGRANTS we could see the positive changes. But if we look on the other side we still need to do lots of things. But what about people living with HIV/AIDS or the surviving family of recovering addict or children of people living with HIV/AIDS and drug users. Apart from giving counseling, new needles and syringe and condoms, the Government and funding agency should also focus on livelihood sustainability purely for these people in Nagaland. Though Nagaland is called the Christian majority state people don’t follow the principles of Christian religion, the discrimination is still high.
BASIC: Through experience, we know that HIV+ orphans and children suffer a lot. Do you agree? Please share any burning problem or issue you have come across.
Jenpu: Yes, I agree in fact we are currently working with them. We came across so many problems but I would like to share one story in particular.
Leni (Name Change) is a 12 year old girl affected by HIV/AIDS studying in class V, belongs to Naga Community, both her parents are alive but living with HIV & AIDS. She also has a younger brother who is also HIV+. Leni’s parents are unemployed and her father health condition is going bad to worse. Her mother works as a daily wage earner to run the home, but being ill health she also cannot go for work every day. And when Leni’s mother can’t go for work they often sleep without food.
Leni is a brilliant student and she has lots of responsibilities at home, whenever her mother goes to work she used to look after her ill father and her younger brother. She also works at home like a grown up woman, where we cannot expect a 12 year old girl to cook food, wash cloths, wash utensils. She and her family struggle a lot due to discrimination in a so called Christian state.
BASIC: Your message for the youth.
Jenpu: Take your own decision. Take control, be self responsible, create your own space to bring changes in yourself and for the society too. Life is Beautiful. Live not only for yourself but live for others (society) too.
· Youngs’ Club was conferred a title of ‘Most Trusted Partner’ by Model Blood Bank District Hospital Dimapur in related to Voluntary Blood Donation
· Youngs’ Club got Nagaland State Best Youth Club award 2013 conferred by Nehru Yuva Kendra, Govt. Of India on 12th Dec 2013 at Kisama, Kohima.
· Youngs’ Club is currently engage in My Space, My unManifesto Campaign in Nagaland; the campaign is a nationwide initiated by UNFPA, Youth ki Awazz, Pravah, Bosco Institute and Community and the Youth Collective. The campaign is about creating a space for the youth to raise a voice on social issues and make their own manifesto and submit to the political parties.