In the eighties heroin came into the market in Pakistan on a large scale and was therefore available for everyone. This dangerous drug, that will lead to a quick addiction, provided more than 3 million addicts in fifteen years. According to the Narcotic Control Division of Pakistan, 97% of the addicts are men and 72% of them are younger than 35 years. 600.000 heroin addicts live in the city of Karachi, a metropolis in the south of Pakistan. The government of Pakistan acknowledges the problematic nature of the addiction that gains ground but has no effective answer to embank the explosive growth of the number of addicts.
Private dry out clinics are only accessible for a small, rich part of the population and offer a short dry out program which for most people leads to a backslide into the former addiction.
The Marie Adelaide Rehabilitation Centre (MARC), or “the House of Hope” in popular speech, is situated in Umeed Goth, Sinjhoro, district Sanghar Sindh, about 300 kilometers north-east of the metropolis Karachi.
Throughout the years it was turned into a professional dry out center for drug addicts, now permanently 300 addicts can follow a dry out program. With the help of many people, more buildings arose at the complex. Sleeping rooms, a big dining room, a big kitchen and rooms to use for discussion groups several times a day. A strict program gives the addicted youths regularity, a task and an aim.
In Karachi boys will be taken from the streets by an old ambulance. Very often, they are seriously ill and can’ t take care of themselves any more.
In the House of Hope everyone is woken up by five o’ clock in the morning and a three-miles race is run. When everyone is back, there is breakfast.
The tasks are mutually distributed. Everyone has a turn in pleasant and less pleasant jobs and there will be no difference between them. Muslims will care for Christians and Hindus for Muslims. Everyone is equal and everyone is helping out. A unique scene in a country that is divided and torn up by ethnic and religious conflicts. The rest of the day is filled with discussion groups, domestic tasks and when night falls everyone goes to sleep.
By now, in Karachi a drop-out center is opened to make the entrance for addicted youths to the House of Hope somewhat more gradual. There is a Halfway House in another part of Karachi to help youths to find their way back to society again, after they have done a dry out program.
Still, the concept is not fully satisfying. In comparison with other initiatives, the results could be called very good. A lot of youths do not fall back to their addiction, but an essential number has problems in building a new existence without heroin. They are often illiterate and have never learned a profession. This makes it very difficult to build a new future. The plan was born to expand the House of Hope with a technical school where youths can learn a profession like car mechanic, welder, tailor, woodworker, electrician etc. These are professions where there is need of. Foundation Inter Help by now has build a sound building in Umeed Goth that can be used as a technical school.
In the concept of the House of Hope, ex-addicts will act as teachers and the system of “learning by doing” will generate money because the products that will be made at school will be sold in the city or elsewhere.
The “More with less project” will help with the fitting out of the technical school. It concerns workbenches, tools, computers and other material. The costs of the fitting out will be € 5.000,-.