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RAUF targets addicts

South African NGO, The Re-focus and Upliftment Foundation (RAUF) offers individuals struggling with an addiction to drugs, with the positive help and support needed to fight the hold of narcotics. On Sunday, the foundation visited the VOC studios to share the work they have done and hopefully reach audience members who are looking for such help.

With no fees involved, the foundation offers more than just drug rehabilitation, and through its programmes, it empowers individuals with necessary social skills to integrate back into their respective communities with a fresh and sober perspective. According to the foundation’s Ebrahim Dawood, after the 1994 elections, they have that found substance abuse has become one of the major social ills which plague most communities in South Africa.

As one of its founders, Dawood recalled that in 1998, the decision was made, to create a programme where addicts and drug users can be assisted in fighting their addictions. “We could see the scourge was becoming increasingly out of control, so we decided to go and educate ourselves on addiction in orer for us to, in some way, combat the scourge of drug abuse in our communities,” Dawood explained.

The affects substance abuse has on the youth and ultimately, society as a whole, left the founders of the organisation with no other alternative but to begin to address the issue. The organisation is based on Durban’s south coast, where a halfway house is available for individuals who are seeking rehab for their drug problems. Dawood said the rehab was the initial idea, but now the foundation offers more than just a halfway house, so they have set up pre and post care programs.

“We have created a national after care programme, targeting not only major cities in the country but towns from Kwazulu-Natal to the Western Cape,” he added. The organisation aims to empower the community through counselling, rehabilitation, skills development, family support and the implementation of community awareness strategies.

The foundation has already assisted about 400-450 Capetonians both Muslim and non-Muslim. Dawood said for a foundation of this nature to properly and thoroughly help addicts, they not only need to have the infrastructure in place but also the expertise. The foundation is constantly improving its services to the community as they understand the challenge and courage needed for addicts to make a choice to not only change their lives but to completely release the mental addiction to the substances as well.

Currently the foundation mainly assists males, from various ages and different backgrounds, offering a programme not only targeted at rehabilitation, but offering counselling on a level which is far beyond the boundaries of the half way house. “If you look at addiction and work with an addict in isolation, it is worthless. Therefore, we aim to educate the families of addicts even before we take them in.

“The affects of the rehabilitation will not be enough if the approach to helping an addict does not go beyond the rehab. The families and friends need to be part of the rehabilitation process. And even after rehab, the foundation aims to continue counselling and assisting those individuals with getting back into their daily lives,” Dawood said.

“We will take anyone with the readiness and willingness, no money is needed. However, if the individual can afford the meal per day, then we will appreciate the assistance but as 90% of the people we treat cannot afford it, we do not ask.” With Cape Town’s largest populations living on the Cape Flats in impoverished communities, socio economic issues plague the majority of the youth, directly or indirectly leading them to drug or alcohol abuse.

“We seem to be closing rehabs as opposed to opening, when the problem is at its most crucial stage. We are trying to empower on a large scale by offering counselling nationally through reaching out to the community. Groups such as R.A.U.F serve to keep the otherwise rejected people like addicts within the support base of the Muslim community.”

The foundation will now be going around the Mother City to bring awareness to its programmes and approach the local community who are in dire need of combating drug abuse. Some members of the foundation will be at the Shukrul Mubeen masjid in Lansdowne for an introduction to the local community on its programmes. For more information, contact Imam Hassan Moos on 083 228 0394. VOC (Raéesah Isaacs)

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