Drug Abuse is a serious problem faced by youths in Nepal. According to the survey conducted over a span of 7 years by the Nepalese government, the number of hard drug users increased by 98%. The data was collected from the Kathmandu Valley, Sunsari, Kaski, Jhapa, Morang, Rupandehi, Chitwan, Banke, Parsa, and Makwanpur district. “Sano Paila” is one of the organizations in the country which is working on rehabilitating existing drug users and help them settle back into the community.
Sona Paila is a development-oriented, non-profit, community-based organization established in the year of 2006. With the mission of “Building Unified & Empowered Communities to build Nepal,” it started to provide its service for the community in Birgunj. Sano Paila has its broad reach in community services ranging from youth empowerment, drug rehabilitation, health improvement, and advocacy, peacebuilding, crime prevention, and reformation, anti-trafficking and child protection, access to education, livelihood enhancement, and crisis response.
The founder and current Executive Director of Sano Paila, Mr. Kanchan Jha, shares his story of starting Sano Paila and how they were able to gain trust from the community with their sensitive work of rehabilitating drug users. There used to be a Godfather figure amongst drug users, Mr. Sadhu Ram Khadki whom everybody knew in his community. He was addicted to heroin and the addiction was at the worst level.
Sano Paila deemed it possible to bring Sadhu Ram on the road to rehabilitation and he also convinces other drug users to join the cause. It was not easy, they would hardly get a chance to meet him, he would not show up or ignore them. But, the team maintained their patience. After regularly follow up of 6-8 months, Sadhu Ram finally agreed to join the program. If the team could help him recover from addiction it would be a win, a celebration but that was not easy but worthwhile to invoke other drug users as well to rise up from extreme drug usage.
The team at Sano Paila continuously supported Sadhu Ram to get over drugs. After 3 months of tireless effort, he came out clean. Sano Paila was finally able to accomplish their big ambitious goal. The team also had done the program at a location where the people from the community could see what was happening. It helped bring trust to Sano Paila. After this success, there was no looking back for the team.
Sano Paila has until this date worked directly in Parsa, Bara, Rautahat, Mahottari, Dhanusha, Siraha, Makwanpur, Lalitpur and Kathmandu districts and have developed collaborations in Lamjung and Kavrepalanchowk districts as well. It has also started the Community-based Schools of Recovery in Birgunj and Janakpur, to support the rehabilitation of drug addicts and ex-convicts of the same region.
The philosophy and dream at Sano Paila are to help people grow in their area of potential while alleviating them out of suffering.
They are not only focused on withdrawing people from addiction but also rehabilitating them back in society, but first by getting them accepted back into their families. No matter how many organizations such as Sano Paila try, if the perception and acceptance levels of family and community do not change for the better, their effort can go in vain.