Ebrahim Moosa – Cii News | 29 Jumadal Ula 1437/10 March 2016

After more than 2 decades of being in the frontline of drug rehabilitation in the Muslim community, NPO Crescent of Hope(COHSA) has officially opened South Africa’s first females-only drug rehabilitation centre to accommodate a dire need of those afflicted from the fairer gender.

“The problem of drug and alcohol abuse is seen as a major problem as the Muslim community at this stage is still not prepared to accept that female member who is drug dependent. It thus becomes a problem that has to be solved discreetly and most confidentially. Our offices are inundated with calls from desperate parents requesting us to admit females. We sometimes get calls from the addict herself,” the humanitarian organisation explains on its website.

“This problem within the Muslim community is reaching alarming proportions and the Muslim Community has not come to terms with the fact that the scourge of drug addiction is afflicting more and more females. It was established by our centre in Magaliesburg that the large percentage of parents and close family members of the afflicted person are reluctant to admit this scourge has disrupted the entire family life. Even more so if the person concerned is a female member of the family. Consequently the problem is not dealt with until it is too late.”

A spike in the number of calls for assistance made by females over the last decade and the inability of the organisation’s well established Magaliesburg male rehabilitation centre to deal with them, compelled COHSA to seek alternatives to addressing this need.

The purchase of the old Louws holiday club in De Deur, in close proximity to Vereeninging a few years ago, provided a much needed opening for the organisation, with its spacious 5, 6786 hectors set in a beautiful environment rendering it an ideal refuge for rehabilitation.

Eager to remedy the problem, representatives of the organisation hit the road running providing consultation and outpatient services, virtually from the onset.

A complete rehabilitation solution, however, was not that easily attainable.

“We thought we could lipstick and powder the premises,” said Moulana Riyaaz Limbada who officiates over the premises.

“However, we soon realised it needed a complete makeover,” he said.

Part of the challenge facing the organisation were the huge cost considerations of upgrading the entire premises, and ageing building on the property that we not deemed sustainable to operate from in the long run.

A major refurbishment drive was initiated, and 5 years later, views at the centre are nothing short of spectacular.

“It took a while, but now we are state of the art, according to Department of Health and Social Services standards,” said Moulana Limbada.

Patient rooms

The centre now incorporates a fully fledged clinic, office and networking space, patient boarding, nurse cottages, Musallas, a canteen, visitors area, a swimming pool, vegetable garden, gym,  sauna, library and horse-riding area.

“It’s an all girls facility, we provide the facilities that you would find at all top centres at a fraction of the price,” the aalim said about the rehab which opened its doors for service at the beginning of March.

Horse riding

Pool facility

Trained professionals, he said, would take patients through the internationally acclaimed 12 step rehabilitation programme, but with a twist.

“We have modified the programme. Its basis is connecting the addict to a higher power. We are just putting a more definite stance to it,” he said, elaborating on the centre’s spiritual bedrock.

“There’s a deep spiritual programme in our centres. [We purport] that there is no rehabilitation without connection[to Allah]. Only those who get connected to some avenue of deen will stay clean”.

Drawing on the programme from the COHSA Magaliesburg centre, Moulana Riyaaz said the girls only venue will incorporate spiritual activities such as regular Zikr sessions, recitals of Masnoon Surahs at appropriate times, and Madressah classes.

Performance of 5 times Salaah for Muslim patients, he said, would be a non negotiable element.

“Our engine room is the musalla,” he added, explaining that many Muslim drug addicts have a total void of Salaah in their lives, making the incorporation of Salaah in their daily routines a vital element for their reformation.

Salaah facility

“May Allah SWT make ours a centre that changes the hearts of people; that turns them towards Allah, towards love of Allah and his Rasool, for Deen and righteousness,” Moulana Riyaaz prayed.

“These girls may have taken a bit of a detour in their lives, but the idea is to bring them back to become the mothers of tomorrow, to become the pillars of their own homes, communities and societies”.

The Moulana signalled that it was imperative for parents to recognise how the nature of drugs and drug addiction had evolved since the days of their youth.

“We need to wake up and see that everything is not as simple as it was in our youth, and that the challenges for the youth today are so different”.

Whilst illicit substances were only available previously on the black-market, South Africa’s greater assimilation with much of the world, he said, meant that international drug cartels now have a much greater footprint on our shores.

“Drugs are now available everywhere. Substances that were not known prior to 2010, are now the biggest drugs being abused in South Africa”.

Most parents, he said, have absolutely no idea how to identify these, nor are they suitably equipped to identify a drug addict or offer the necessary support in case a child is found to be hooked.

“That is why our counselors are not only trained in drug counseling, but trauma counseling as well, to offer adequate support to traumatized parents”.

The Aalim said COHSA centres have so far attended to patients as young as 12 and as old as 69.

At any given time, the rehabiliation section is designed to only house a maximum of 20 patients. Whilst the outlook of the centre is Islamic, patients from any religious denomination are accepted.

Besides drug rehabilitation, the De Deur centre will offer general counseling services as well.

The centre is situated at 157 Van de Merwe Street, De Deur, Vereeninging

For appointments, contact 016 5566139/084 800 6023

LISTEN to Cii Radio’s in-depth interview with Moulana Riyaaz Limbada HERE