1000 former drug addicts to be reintegrated after rehab

The City of Kigali, security agencies and National Rehabilitation Services (NRS) have started preparations to facilitate effective reintegration of hundreds of rehabilitated drug addicts, who are set to graduate at Iwawa Rehabilitation and Vocational Skills Development Centre (IRVSDC).

The City of Kigali, security agencies and National Rehabilitation Services (NRS) have started preparations to facilitate effective reintegration of hundreds of rehabilitated drug addicts, who are set to graduate at Iwawa Rehabilitation and Vocational Skills Development Centre (IRVSDC).

A total of 989 former drug dealers and addicts are set to graduate on February 9, in various vocational fields.

According to the vice mayor for the City of Kigali in charge of Social Affairs, Patricia Muhongerwa, the whole plan falls under the national programme to fight the scourge of drug abuse. 

“Today (Wednesday) a team of officials from the City of Kigali including all vice mayors in charge of social affairs from Nyarugenge, Gasabo and Kicukiro; security agencies and NRS have travelled to Iwawa ahead of the graduation to specifically profile the graduands, categorize them according to their skills and find ways to find them jobs,” Muhongerwa said.

At least 800 of those graduating were from the City of Kigali.

“With majority graduating having sent by the City of Kigali, we need to exactly know their names, their parents or families; if they are city residents or from other parts of the country. These deeper discussions with them will inform the best appropriate action, for example, if some of them have families capable and ready to support them,” she added.

Those who don’t have families or whose families have no means, she said, will be supported to put into practice the acquired skills. 

“Together with security organs, we have partnered with groups and companies like Reserve Force, Utexrwa and business enterprises established by rehabilitated former drug dealers and addicts; we want to ensure that when these youth graduate they find better alternative and a better life waiting,” she said.

This, she noted, is meant to lay a solid ground to prevent the young people from going back into abusing drugs.

According to Commissioner of Police (CP) Theos Badege, the Rwanda National Police (RNP) spokesperson, such initiatives supplement efforts to kill the market. 

“It is not only about fighting the supply chain; it’s also about ensuring that the addicted are rehabilitated and given a better life, which facilitates in killing the consumption market,” said CP Badege.

This, he said, is a general concept that also involves parents, schools, different youth groups, faith-based organizations, local leaders as well as owners and managers of hospitality facilities to prevent the young people from abusing drugs and to ensure dealers are arrested and prosecuted.

RNP and the ministries of Youth, Local Government and Health started a countrywide awareness campaign in December last year specifically to bring on board various groups reverse the scourge of drug trafficking and abuse in the country.

According to Aime Bosenibamwe, the coordinator of NRS, breaking the chain of supply and killing the local market will also save the government expenses on rehabilitation.

Currently, the government spends at least Rwf70 million every month to support and rehabilitate over 3800 drug addicts are Iwawa alone.

The rehabilitation is in two phases; first six months of psychological and health rehabilitation, and six more months for vocational training. 

“The government is now investing more in rehabilitation and awareness as means to kill the local market and save the youth, the majority victims. Gitagata is being upgraded to accommodate at least 1000 people up from 400 currently including girls below the age of 18 years, and women aged between 18 and 35 years,” Bosenibamwe said.

“Similarly, Nyamagabe rehabilitation centre once completed will accommodate about 2000 people. All these are government programmes designed to make sure that the young people whose life is ruined, get a better life and to support the joint efforts to combat the scourge of narcotic drugs in our country,” he added.

Since 2012, about 12,228 addicted youth aged between 18 and 35 year, have been rehabilitated and equipped with vocational skills, with about 90 percent of completely healed and currently engaged in income generating activities.

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