Alcoholism is one of the most rampant problems in the village of Angalakuppam; most men drink everyday and are prey to this disease that destroys both the consumer’s physical and mental health as well as the economic, social and emotional fabric of the whole family. And the major brunt of this is faced by the women. They have to not only be caregivers to every member of their family, they also have to give extra attention towards the overall health of the husband. To add to this, the husband often stops contributing towards the household economy, making the woman often the main bread-winner of the family. And this has been our experience with many women of Angalakuppam, as a 1-person army that keeps the household running.
It is understanding the struggles of the women of this village, and our will to encourage their wish to rise both economically and socially that two batches of women have received loans in this village under the Social Entrepreneurship program for women.
Last week, we were able to organize a de-addiction awareness session with OUTREACH & DROP-IN CENTRE (ODIC)which is funded by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (MSJE), and National Institute of Social Defense (NISD). They provide end-to-end services ranging from awareness creation of alcohol addiction, to referral and in-house de-addiction services as well as a 2 year follow up of the same. They are also involved in awareness vis-à-vis youth involved in drug abuse.
Mr. Sivanantham Project Director-cum-counsellor, Mr. Arun Praveen in-charge of the ODIC project, as well as 3 health workers conducted this session which was attended by 12 women of Angalakuppam who are beneficiaries under the Social Entrepreneurship program of Sharana.
The awareness session began with an introduction between our beneficiaries and a team from ODIC. They explained the ODIC schemes to explain to the women beneficiaries why they are gathered here. In continuation Mr. Sivanantham explained about Alcoholism: he spoke about the WHO definition of alcoholism, symptoms of addictions, type of addiction and also touched others drugs too and he explained about the services provided by ODIC and their parent organisation, Bharatha Madha de-addiction centre. This was followed by a question and answer session where the women were provided with all the information as well as flyers with detailed information if they wanted to reach out to ODIC for alcoholism related support; and this concluded the interaction with our beneficiaries. Some women have also expressed their desire to avail of the services offered by ODIC.
Then, our beneficiaries were divided into four groups. They were asked to do an exercise where they wrote down what are problems faced by individuals, Family, Workplace, and Society due to a person consuming alcohol and other drugs (Our staff helped them formulate their ideas for the same). Although a little hesitant at the beginning, most women expressed themselves and a lot of ideas came out of this collective activity which helped them overcome their shyness and build trust with each other (as many of them were going through similar issues). This was followed by a group discussion facilitated by Mr. Arunpraveen.
Thanks to this awareness session, the women understood alcoholism better and realised that it is not a bad habit per se, rather it is a DISEASE. And that It is not the sole responsibility of the individual to stop drinking, as he or she may be unable to do so, instead it is the duty of all of us (Family members, Society) to help with the same.
ODIC and Sharana will continue working alongside the village of Angalakuppam for the problem of Alcoholism; and are creating a work plan of the same for the coming months. This will include follow up awareness sessions, awareness posters in public areas of the village as well as a survey to see the situation of alcoholism in the village.