“Parents are afraid to talk to their children who are abusing drugs,” says William Sehata, founder of Lesedi Youth Empowerment (LYE) in Bochum, Eldorado Village in Limpopo.
LYE is a non-profit organisation (NPO) established in 2017 to address socio-economic challenges such as crime, alcohol, drugs, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, and health issues amongst the youth.
“In rural areas, parents are scared of their children because they use drugs and smoke dagga. I think some of these children threaten their parents to such extent that parents are afraid to talk about these issues,” he says.
Sehata lost his mother when he was young, so he turned to dagga and alcohol to cope. He says that if parents are not involved in their children’s lives, kids grow up without the influence of positive role models, which then lures them into drugs and alcohol.
“I was 13 years old when I started smoking dagga and cigarettes, and drinking alcohol. I was under pressure because I lived alone following my mother’s death in 1997,” Sehata says. He adds: “I realised that the life I was living wasn’t good, so I started going to church to mend my ways. I didn’t go to rehab or any other organisation such as LYE because none existed back then.”
Sehata says that drugs such as nyaope and dagga are common in Eldorado Village, adding that they could be the reason behind ill-discipline amongst children and the spike of killings in schools.
“I have seen young children, some as young as 13, smoking nyaope and dagga. Drugs are very dangerous because they cause young ones to stab each other and their teachers. They also don’t take school seriously. This is such a big challenge, especially in the rural areas,” Sehata explains.
Sehata says that through their Drug-Free World campaign, they engage with parents and the youth to address social ills in communities.
Department of Social Development spokesperson, Kanakana Mantshimuli says that they work hand-in-hand with NPOs to fight substance abuse through various campaigns in the province.
“The department, in partnership with NPOs, has anti-substance abuse campaigns and provide outpatient treatment services. We provide subsidies to NPOs fighting abuse,” he explains.
Mantshimuli adds that the in-patient programme at the Seshego Rehabilitation Centre in Polokwane offers services to the entire province, and works on a referral basis.
“The service is free, but there is protocol that needs to be followed for a person to be admitted to the centre because detoxification can be life-threatening. The services are available to all who need it but walk-ins are not allowed,” he concludes. – Health-e News
An edited version of this story was published by IOL.