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Putting Out the Flames of Addiction

 In Future Smiles, Mumbai Smiles

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Addiction is a condition that is highly multifaceted in nature; a chronic brain disease that causes compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences. There can be many reasons for a person to succumb to addiction such as peer pressure, the glamour quotient attached to it or a combination of physical, mental, circumstantial and emotional factors. An addiction generally stems in a person during their adolescent years and once hooked, the journey back to sobriety isn’t easy. To create awareness about the harmful and life altering scenarios created due to addiction, we conducted two sessions on De Addiction for our Future Smiles beneficiaries.

The main objective of these sessions was not just to create awareness but also understand addiction and ways to prevent it from sneaking into one’s life using a futuristic approach.  The session was organised in two of our partner schools—Samata Vidya Mandir School and Powai Marathi Madhyamik School. After a lot of research and finding the right resource people, Ms. Sarvoparita, Unit Head: Education and Development got on board Bhardawadi Hospital and Kripa Foundation.

DSC00226The first session in Samata Vidya Mandir School was organised by Mumbai Smiles wherein we invited a Resource Person from Bhardawadi Hospital. The person conducting the session was Dr. Alpa Shah with her four other team members. Before getting into the details of the session, due acknowledgement should be given to Mr. Pravin Bhirade, Field Coordinator (FCO) for coordinating with the schools and making other necessary arrangements. The session was researched by the team members regarding its content and topics based on the current need of the hour. It began with introduction of Mumbai Smiles organisation, the project and the whole idea behind organising this session. Then Dr. Alpa Shah showcased an intense video display and a presentation covering all the focal points and in turn engaging the beneficiaries. Post this; the students were made to meditate which is a powerful tool in calming the senses and increasing will power.

DSC00289The second session was organised in Powai Marathi Madhyamik School by Mumbai Smiles and Kripa Foundation, one of the largest Non-Governmental Organisation dealing with addiction related issues. The highly qualified Resource Persons for this session were Deepak Gaikwad (Dharavi Centre In charge) and Mr. Rajendra Velinkar (Outreach Coordinator). The idea behind this was to show the students how people are misguided into taking drugs. A pictorial and graphical representation of the drugs and its related diseases created an impact on these students as we all know; pictures speak a thousand words.

At the end of both the sessions, the most important aspect was conducted—an open forum for Q and A. The students had many questions to ask related to things they see in the movies, at home, around their environment etc. Their questions were patiently answered by both the resource persons allowing them further to understand addiction and its ill-effects.

The teachers and the school authorities seemed highly impressed with the session conducted to help and guide the students to cope and understand addiction. One should understand that a student in their adolescence is easily influenced and are always looking to ‘experiment’ but with the right guidance change is possible. Being at that age where their mind is skittish and the reach is accessible; extreme care should be taken before they lose themselves in the wonderment that addiction portrays.

To quote the attendees of the session—

“It was a really nice session for us because we have witnessed some of our friends getting affected and addicted to tobacco, alcohol and the likes. We have gained a lot of realistic and useful information which will help us also to guide those addicted.  Now that we are aware we know what’s best for us and also create more awareness for the others.” –Student of Class 10th, Samata Vidya Mandir School.

“We are really happy to participate and be a part of this session because this session has covered the need of the hour. Now I am aware about how people get misguide through superstations and myths about addictions. We are now capable to say no as we are more aware.” –Beneficiary from Powai Marathi Madhyamik School.

“This was a very nice session that was conducted in our school. When the child reaches the age of adolescence he/she should be made aware about the addiction because this is the age when children can be easily misguided. This session also allows the student to help their parents or relative who are addicted and need support. I am extremely happy with the way this was organised and the initiative taken by Mumbai Smiles team.” –Shivani Karpe, Principal, Powai Marathi Madhyamik School.

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