Mopheme/The Survivor (Maseru)

4 July 2001

Lesotho: Groups Fight Drug And Alcohol Abuse

The International Day of Illicit Drug Trafficking and Illegal Drug Use was celebrated at Ha-Foso with sports activities that included volleyball and music last week.

The occasion which was a joint venture between Blue Cross from Thaba-Bosiu Centre and Crisis Intervention Skills Training Centre (CISTC) was organised with an intention to sensitise the public, young people in particular, about the side effects of drug indulgence and alcohol abuse.

Officially opening the occasion, the Area Chief of Ha-Foso, Mantolo Majara said youth are a valuable national resource and that their abstinence from drugs will pave way for chiefs to have a drugs free environment.

She youth participation in sports and entertainment activities gave her much gratification as it created an impression that drugs and alcohol indulgence by young people was not inevitable but a challenge. "I wish to express my satisfaction to see you young people involved in sports against drugs as this gives me the impression that as you continue doing so, you will make it easy for us as chiefs to work with convenience in a drug free environment," she remarked.

Speaking at the same occasion, the founding Director of CISTC, Mamoliehi Mphi said she was gratified that the youth dedicated their efforts and time to celebrating the event for their own good. Mphi said after being retrenched from the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL), as a coordinator of the Aids and Drugs Eradication Programme (ADEP), she was keen to begin her non-governmental entity to which she would continue to work against drug abuse.

She noted that despite financial constraints, she is making some progress and she is hoping to receiving donor funding from UN and SADC.

CISTC is the regional head office of African organi-sations with initiatives for building intervention skills. It also aims at promoting healthy life styles among young people and women. It also focuses on HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention through education, information and communication. Counseling, support and skills development and stress management also forms an integral part of the services provided by CISTC.

Five volleyball teams from Motimposo, Marabeng, Ha-Foso, Sekamaneng and Thaba-Bosiu took turns to play against each other to solemnise the event.

On behalf of Blue Cross, the Prevention Programme Officer, Mphonyane noted that the event would give the youth confidence and help them strive to abstain from drugs and alcohol. She said her organisation's activities were slanted towards ensuring a free drug and alcohol environment in the country by conducting awareness campaigns with groups of people, particularly the youth.

She said the event was a milestone of youth development towards abolition of drugs and alcohol indulgence to pave way for a free rape and HIV/AIDS country, noting that the prevalence of these ills is a result of drug abuse.

The theme for that day was 'champions do not do drugs' and was coined with an intention to conscientise the young people on the modalities they can use to abstain from drugs and alcohol, with particular focus on sports activities.

Sport was selected as a central theme because it was considered a major influence that may have a transformational element in people's lives.

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