Drop-in centre for recovering addicts unable to register as CSO

Jurwa, the change, a centre based in Paro that provides after-care services for recovering addicts is struggling to register itself as a Civil Society Organisation. It has been applying for CSO certification for over two years.  The founder says the centre will be able to manage funds and expertise to provide services for the unreached if it can register itself as a CSO.

Today, there are 10 youth receiving after-care services such as counseling and other engaging programmes from peers at the Jurwa centre.  They were once dependent on alcohol and substance abuse.

29-year-old Sangay Lhamo is one of the regular visitors at the Jurwa. The centre has helped her stay sober for six years now.

Sangay initially started abusing drugs as a means to escape from problems. But that eventually became an addiction hard to overcome until she started seeking refuge in rehabilitation programmes like the kind that Jurwa provides. Today, she is running the Jurwa Cafe located near the centre behind the Tshongdue town.

“For men, it is not much of a problem to seek such services from the Centre. But it is not easy for many women to come for counselling services. I am sure that there are many women like me who are into substance abuse. I think if they follow our footsteps and quit doing drugs it will benefit. Until then they will not get support from the community, as I have experienced it personally, because people will directly judge you for abusing drugs. Here at the centre nobody would judge us as we have all walked that same path at one point of time,” said Sangay.

“I was an addict and got rejected by the society including my family. Later, I heard about this drop-in Centre and immediately started taking counselling classes and took part in Jurwa’s programmes. This has changed everything. And the centre even helps find a source of livelihood for those of us who are unemployed. As a result, many of us are living a normal life now,” said Tenzin Pelzang, a recovering addict.

Sonam Tshering who was an alcoholic for 26 years and is a recovering addict now founded Jurwa as a drop-in Centre. He was inspired to start the centre after working with Chithen Phendey Tshogpa as an outreach worker and a counsellor for over a decade.

“Most of the time, due to our behaviour, we are ignored and abandoned. We land up in the streets gradually. So, we provide them shelter and guidance to correct their lives. Initially, we didn’t have any money so, we took loan through the Priority Sector Lending Scheme and started the Centre,” said Sonam Tshering.

He added that the centre cannot do much without support in terms of finance, technical and up skilling programmes. “If we have the CSO certificate, we can approach any offices for support. We can also explore supports from abroad through our connections such as relatives and well-wishers. We are not just focused on monetary support but trainings, opportunities, and platforms for people like us.”

According to the Civil Society Organisation Authority, the certification of Jurwa as a CSO is pending as of now along with more than 30 other applications. The Authority has selected seven for approval but Jurwa is not one of them.

Back in Paro, Sonam Tshering is not giving up hope. Should everything work out as planned, he plans to have a similar after-care Centre for people in the East.

Namgay Wangchuk

Edited by Phub Gyem

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