STARIGHT TALKS

Almost 10 percent of human beings are at risk to get addicted to harmful substances.

This may be due to genetic predisposition or psychological and social circumstances. Addiction can take many forms; the most common and destructive being alcohol and drugs.

According to a recent survey, there are thousands of street children who are addicted to sniffing glue or use assorted types of drugs and the government has no programme to save these unfortunate souls.

On their own, addicts and their families would find it difficult, if not impossible, to cope with this illness. Given the levels of poverty and the virtual absence of government support in Pakistan, addicts and their families would have nowhere to go for help, were it not for the philanthropic efforts of NGOs like AAS.

As such, my dear friend AR Allana has taken it upon himself to help these neglected and forgotten kids and has established an AAS Trust.

The Trust is a private non-profit organisation, established under the Trust Act, 1882 based in Karachi, that provides treatment, rehabilitation and aftercare to men and children suffering from alcohol and substance addiction.

It was set up in Karachi in 2000 and is exclusively devoted to treating chemical dependency (use of narcotic substances) in both adults and children from underprivileged backgrounds. From its humble beginning, with a small adult centre in Sohrab Goth, it has risen to its present status.

AAS now has two treatment centers, one in Malir for children and one in SMCHS for adults; two half way houses for children and adults in Malir and Nazimabad, plus a vocational training centre/hostel for adolescents in Nazimabad.

Admirably the Trust now runs five rehab and aftercare centers across the city - reaching out to the underprivileged in our society who have fallen victim to substance abuse. Thus these individuals are being offered a caring, respectful and comfortable environment, fostering recovery through therapy, support, vocational training and education. However, in 2006, with the assistance of United Nations Office for Drug and Crime (UNODC) and Anti Narcotics Force (ANF), AAS initiated a detoxification and rehabilitation project for destitute children. The Trust has served more than 1500 patients, with a 32.6 percent recovery rate. AAS Trust has provided a comprehensive high-quality drug and alcohol addiction treatment and counseling services to hundreds of street children struggling with addiction and trauma. This has been made possible through generous donations from socially responsible citizens and organisations and has helped to meet the cost of addiction treatment for street children. The donations made it possible for ASS to rehabilitate, inform and educate the children, and also counsel and educate their family members on ways through which they could provide their children an environment more conducive to recovery after their treatment at the center has been completed.

In line with its mission to help street children, in April 2016, AAS Trust had  launched the AAS Ghar, a free of cost and safe place for street children to sleep at night. It has three rooms, with a capacity to accommodate 20 children.

The rooms are well-ventilated with windows and fans, and have comfortable bedding. There is also a television for entertainment. Every evening, the AAS Ghar staff goes out on the streets and motivates children to come and sleep at the shelter.

The idea is to save these children from a life of abuse, rape and prostitution on the streets of Pakistan. Children have the opportunity to take showers during their stay at the AAS Ghar and are given snacks at night and breakfast in the morning. Furthermore, children who are suffering from addiction are motivated to go to the AAS Children Primary Unit to get treatment for their affliction.

In the absence of credible state support, AAS Trust recognises the need to help these individuals, especially the children, to have a glimmer of hope for a normal life. This in turn reduces the adverse effects associated with addiction on society, family and employers.

It is recognized that addiction is an illness to which some individuals are

Pre-disposed and for which they need help.

Left untreated addicts suffer severe physiological problems, which could eventually lead to death. Moreover the addict becomes extremely disruptive for his family, employer and his or her social circle. This cost, to the individual and society, is extremely high in comparison to the cost of treatment.

The Trust has also been very fortunate in getting support from U.K based organisations which run treatment centers and have agreed to offer coaching and mentoring of AAS counselors and treatment directors on a one-on-one basis remotely. To raise funds for the AAS, young students from various leading schools of Karachi organised a musical, Grease at the PACC last week. The performance was produced and directed by Talya Jalil, Anoosh Asaf and their friends and the cast was headed by Aqib Shah, Alyanna Khan and other youngsters, who put up an excellent performance.

If you also wish to assist ASS Trust in this noble task of returning street children who are debilitated by addiction and trauma, to normal lives and make a life-changing impact on the lives of those who turn to ASS for help, then you may do so by supporting the Trust through a simple donation, which can be made via Direct bank transfer to the AAS Trust account PKR Habib Bank Limited Account number: 50007900281555 Swift Code: HABBPKKA IBAN:

PK21HABB0050007900281555 Account Name: AAS TRUST or by sending a crossed cheque in favour of AAS Trust to: Plot # 8-C, Old Sunset Boulevard, Commercial Street Phase II (Ext.), DHA Karachi. The initiative taken by AR Allana gives hope and an opportunity to these street children to lead a normal life and become responsible and productive citizens of Pakistan.  

trust@helplinetrust.org.pk