Kunphen firmly believe that ‘an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.” Our Awareness Campaign has five powerful sub-projects:
We make visits to Tibetan settlements, schools and other public places to sensitize and educate the general public, youth and educators about drug addiction and its dangers. The following methods are being used to generate awareness during each visit.
• Distribution of pamphlets and informative booklets: Distributing pamphlets and informative booklets have been a very effective way of creating awareness in the communities we visit. They give our participants something tangible to refer back to after we have left.
• During one field trip, we encountered a young boy that told us that his father made his elder sister and him read our HIV/AIDS pamphlets. He said, “…since my father feels uncomfortable to talk about sex with my sister and he is concerned about her, he gave me your pamphlets and asked her to read it once and keep it safe for future references”.
• Awareness seminars in schools for students and staff separately:
In schools, we target secondary school children, ages 13 to 20. We believe that this demographic is the most vulnerable to peer pressures that cause them to use or try drugs.
Kunphen organizes various workshops that focus on addiction and how to avoid it. In these seminars HIV/AIDS is addressed because of the transmission risk by intravenous drug use. At these workshops, we do our best to convey to students our knowledge and experience. We work to demonstrate how addiction can ruin the addict and the addict’s family and the long-term consequences. We also invite former drug addicts to share their experiences.
• We meet with teachers and school councilors to share what we know about drug abuse, how it can occur and be prevented in their schools. We work with those teachers to address problems and create safe solutions that they can implement.
Organizing concerts have been a very popular and effective way of addressing HIV/AIDS and drug abuse while disseminating information in a more socially acceptable way. We have organized two such concerts in the past ten years, each concert has been a great success, reaching thousands of youth at a time.
This year we are looking forward to hosting one such concert before TCV’s fifty year anniversary. This promises to be very effective because many young Tibetan people from different parts of the world are converging on Dharamshala. We see this as a great opportunity to reach a large and diverse group of young people.