THE Coastal Drug Awareness Campaign (Codac) organisation at Walvis Bay is facing challenges in fighting drug and alcohol problems at the coast.
Members of the organisation say despite positive outcomes from their awareness campaigns to schools and youth groups, the organisation lacks resources to accomplish its purpose.
Codac was established in 2016 by then inmates and officers at the Walvis Bay Correctional Facilities. The inmates have now been released and continue to make a positive impact on the coastal communities.
The organisation aims at educating pupils, parents, caregivers, teachers, health professionals, business owners and community leaders to help the youth reject illegal drugs and alcohol and tobacco use that have become a huge concern at the coast, especially Walvis Bay.
Members of the group have so far spoken to about 50 000 community members and pupils on behaviour change.
"We have hundreds of letters after presentations, where young people are telling us how we changed their lives. They say they were busy with these things until they heard our stories. We grew from a prison-based to a community-based organisation. There is so much more that we can do. I was very foolish when I started drug dealing. If I had somebody that talked to me, I could have done things differently," said Codac member Fabian Langenhoven.
"We get calls from mostly single mothers who are dealing with sons whose fathers are absent or deceased. There are conflicts in homes that are driving children to drugs and alcohol. Parents and teachers do not know what to do. The police alone can also not succeed. As ex-prisoners, we have experienced that locking up dealers and users does not help that much. We end up talking and especially praying with these young people and there are positive changes." said Hubert Shikongo, another member.
However, the organisation gets little support from business and community members and has no resources to help further its cause and is, therefore, calling on the community and businesses to help with resources.
The meeting was initiated with the help of Erongo governor Neville Andre on Saturday, as part of his "Think Big" community-building initiative.
The governor urged communities to listen to the organisation's plea, as many homes are destroyed through social evils.
"We all have people that are affected somehow. We can no longer just hold hands. We need to protect our houses. We need collective efforts and especially support Codac. It is a scary thought that drugs are available to the youth so easily. This is decaying our society. " He said.
Residents from all sectors attended the meeting to help map out the way forward.