A camp to raise awareness on drugs abuse among the youth was last week held in Kigali, with calls on the youth to embrace a healthy lifestyle.
Organised by Caring for Impact Ministries (CIM), an NGO that ‘promotes life in all its fullness among the youth’ in partnership with Conquerors, the one-week camp took place in Kinyinya, a Kigali suburb, brought together youth from secondary schools and tertiary institutions. Conquerors is a youth group that does teenage counselling.
According to Omer Mayobere, one of the speakers from CIM, the issue of drug abuse among the youth is alarming.
He noted that spending more time on social media is a big contributor to youth being exposed to bad vices, adding that parents not giving time to their children is another possible contributor to drug abuse among the youth.
“Parents should shower their children love; they should not be over-controlling, but rather dedicate enough time to them, especially teenagers,” he said.
Albert Gakwaya, a psychologist, urged the youth to respect themselves and lead healthy lives by resisting bad influence from their peers.
“To help an addict, it requires support from professionals as well as community so that the patient is in a supportive environment. When one has abused drugs for long, it’s hard to heal completely,” he said.
Gakwaya said the youth should instead focus on productive things that won’t interfere with their health.
Emmanuella Mahoro, another psychologist who was among the speakers, said they provide therapy to addicted youth.
“We provide tips to both parents and youth to bridge the communication gap,” she said.
During the camp, youth were also trained in entrepreneurship, and urged to embrace the savings culture.
Eddy Iriboneye, a youth who attended the camp, said teens and young adults face a lot of challenges, among them drug abuse.
“Parents being busy with work and neglecting their children is a trigger for habits like hanging out with friends, which pushes the youth into negative habits,” he said.
Drug abuse remains a global threat. According to statistics from University of Rwanda, more than half the youth (52.5%) in the country, aged 14-35, have consumed one or more kinds of drugs.