Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sports gives better high than drugs

GANGTOK, 12 Aug: For the first time in Sikkim, a rehabilitation centre for the chemically dependent; Serenity Home is organizing an Under-14 Independence Cup Football Tournament with the theme, “Sports is a better option than Drugs” for the underprivileged children here at its centre compound at Manbir Colony, Lower Burtuk.
What is interesting here is that the rehab which specializes in treating people with problems of substance abuse and alcoholism has now initiated a sporting event, ‘Prevention against Addiction’ specifically for children below the age of 15 years that is aimed at inculcating competitive spirit and to introduce them to sports.
The five-a-side tourney under the NGO’s ‘recreational therapy programme’ began on 10 August and the finals will be played on the 68th Independence Day on Friday.
“The five-a-side tournament will encourage youngsters in the locality especially from TNHSS school area and Lower Burtuk to opt for productive activities. There are 40 children participating in the tournament where the winners will be awarded trophies, medals and certificates,” stated Centre In-charge, Rinchen Karthak while speaking to NOW! today.
It may also be informed that the tournament is based on league points, the best two of which will play the finals on 15 August.
While informing that drugs and alcohol have now become a common ‘getaway’ for the youngsters, the Serenity Home in-charge explains that such sporting activities if promoted would positively influence youngsters to take-up sporting activities instead of drugs and alcohol. He added that many of the children participating in the tournament are playing competitive football for the first time in their lives.
“Football is not the only game that we encourage the youngsters to play. Some children are good at other games like athletics and cricket for which we plan to further strengthen the training facilities and coaches in the future. Instead of the children going astray, we want them to adopt different disciplines of sports,” said Uday C Rai.
It may also be informed that the coaches, referees and officials for the tournament are also recovering addicts and alcoholics who could not pursue their careers in sports as drugs and alcohol took over their lives. The initiative is the brainchild of the members of the rehabilitation centre who state that this is their way to give back to the society.
At present, the U-14 tournament is being played at a small ground in the rehab complex that was dug up and made game ready by the residents of the rehabilitation centre. However, the centre Incharge states that in time the initiative would grow and more children would benefit from the programme specifically those below 15 years.
It was also informed that Serenity Home has carried out this initiative without any funding from any government or private institution or organisation.
“This disease of addiction can be easily prevented if such initiatives are encouraged amongst the young. Even in the rehab we have seen that there is ample talent and many of our boys are now playing in different tournaments this season. A little competitive motivation, encouragement and basic facilities is just that is needed. There is the will and determination,” explains the Centre Incharge.
Lastly, it may also be stated that many of the parents in the locality could not pay for training of any sports which is why the 40 children were identified from various households across the area. “Many parents do not know what their children are going through and what they see every day. With negativity all around us, it is important and the need of the hour that we create a programme through which we can monitor these children, speak to them, interact and carry out psychological intervention and counseling,” states the centre-Incharge.  

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