Photo by Nawami Gurung
Binoy Pradhan has been working as a counselor for patients of addiction at the Kripa Foundation for almost three years. The lockdown had a significant impact on the operations of the NGO but they carried on their duty despite the obstacles and managed to send recovered patients safely back home. Darjinc's Simran Sharma had a little heart-to-heart with him:
Since Kripa Foundation is a self-help centre, the lockdown caused a major blow to our day-to-day activities. For one, we couldn’t admit new patients who needed help. On top of that, we have patients not only from Darjeeling but places such as Sikkim, other North East states and Bhutan. It became really difficult because we couldn’t figure out a way to send them back home after their treatment was over. Their families also could not come to receive them.
At a certain point, we took the initiative and managed to get an ambulance to send more than thirty recovered patients back around Darjeeling, Sikkim, and as far as Bhutan and the North East states. We are grateful that even at such difficult times, we could rely on the support of our head office in Mumbai.
When the news of the COVID-19 pandemic spread, we were gripped by the fear that if any of us from the staff caught the coronavirus, the patients at the centre could be infected. That would’ve been catastrophic. The pressure from the parents and family of the patients who were scared for them also started mounting.
Even though the patients were afraid, there was a certain relief as they had to stay in during the lockdown and were safe as nobody from outside entered the centre besides the staff. As a point of contact with the outside world, we were proactive and equipped with masks, gloves, and sanitizers for all the counseling sessions.
Reporting on duty during this pandemic had me worried as well. If I was alone, it wouldn’t have meant much maybe. But I have a family to look after.
Photo by Nawami Gurung
Having gone through the same path once, when young people come visit us I see myself in them. I have been through the same pain. So I want to help them. The way my life has become better today. I wish the same for them.
For all the service I’m doing, witnessing our brothers and sisters recover and go back to live their lives lends a priceless inner happiness that keeps me going every day.
For all the work that we at the Kripa Foundation have done during the lockdown and will continue to do, I, as a counselor, would like to send a message of assurance that we are here to help you. Many people hide their addiction and stay in denial. If you know somebody who we could help, I urge you to come visit us even if it is to clear your confusion.
Most often patients of addiction are looked upon with suspicion by the society; they even go to the extent to say that addiction is a crime. However, it has been proven by the WHO that dependence syndrome is a disease and the cure for any disease can be found if we seek it.
Donate to Kripa Foundation to empower those afflicted and affected by chemical dependency and HIV: https://kripafoundation.org/make-a-donation/