In preparation for tomorrow’s (March 19, 2020) unveiling of ZISHIYA EMPOWERMENT FOUNDATION (ZEF), the Founder/CEO of the organization, Mrs. Violet Adama Kaburuk spoke with some journalists in Jos on her desire , through ZEF to ensure a drug-free society, especially among our teeming youths and even adults. The event is taking place at the prestigious Sarau Event Centre, behind NTA Jos. Our Correspondent, EZEKIEL DONTINNA was there and he brought these excerpts for your reading delight.
Can you briefly tell us about ZISHIYA EMPOWERMENT FOUNDATION and what it is all about?
Well, ZISHIYA EMPOWERMENT is all about substance abuse, awareness, advocacy and trauma healing.
So, what informed the idea behind this initiative?
I just thought the need to give more of awareness about substance abuse, the need for our children to know about the dangers of drugs and what these substances do to their system.
This is because children growing up don’t have the knowledge of what this substance does to their lives. All they know is “Don’t do drugs” and that is all. So, there is need for us to go to schools, families, and give awareness because we noticed most parents give these drugs do to their children. We need to spell it out for them the dangers inherent in using drugs and also educate them on how it affects their dream of being what they want to be in future.
And for trauma healing, you know, people are going through a lot and to them, they feel the better way out is to engage in drugs or substance abuse. So, there is need for them to feel, they are not alone in it. We want to tell them that, they have people that care about them and that they can go through it and come out very strong and do whatever they want to be in the society.
For those already on substance usage, what are the measures put in place by this organization to help bring them back?
Yeah, for those those are already in it and are not totally dependent, you know, there is a way we can go about it. You know, we have people that can’t just do anything without using this substance. Their life is so much dependent on it and we have people that do it occasionally. So, we have different measures for these classes of people.
There are ways we go about people like that, for some, we will have a session with them, and some need to be put on medication, because we have organizations that we partner with. We also have some whose cases demand for admission for their case to be handled.
You see, it is a thing of the mind, more like, if they are not ready to change or ready to quit, you don’t have to force the person into doing it, it will not work.
Is it in a form of rehabilitation that the organization is going to embark upon and what would be the cost?
It is a yes and no. What we have for now, is more of advocacy and sensitization .Though we organize seminars and workshops for community leaders, young people, parents, for church Elders and all that.
For rehabilitation, yes, we have people that we partner with on this in case of admission or referral and all that, but then, when you are talking about treatment, to some extent, it has a cost. That is why we call on private individuals, groups to come together so that we can put hands together to curb this substance abuse.
So, how do you intend to reach out to those in the grassroots which is also common?
Yes, like I said before, we create awareness to community leaders, church leadership and some volunteer individuals. Now, the reason for creating this awareness to communities, is because, we can’t afford to go back to keep reminding them.
You see, once we passed the knowledge, it is up to them now to organize group of youths or the elderly to help pass the knowledge, while on our part we will continue to invite them for workshops or seminars, you know, enlighten them to transfer same to their people in the grassroots as we visit time to time –more like a follow up.
It used to be quite rear in the past to see young girls engaging in substance abuse, but it is common now. What do you think should be the way out?
Well, you know, should I say everything is changing? To some it is more like they want to belong, like what my friends are into-a kind of “if I don’t belong, I am not a happening thing now”. We have more of environmental factors; we have peer group and biological factors.
You know, people do not usually talk about it. When they see a child doing drug, we allude it to peer group or friends’ lifestyle and we tend to forget about that aspect. Some know or take it as medication and later become use to it and keep taking it without medical prescriptions and it becomes a habit.
So, there is need for medical practitioners too, to give awareness on this and not only on the prescribed days have they always given to patients and leave. They should go further to tell them of the implication of using a drug after being healed and it will go a long way in curbing this menace.
How prepared are you to collaborate with government in creating this awareness?
I am very much prepared to collaborate with not just the government, but anybody that is willing to go into this.
Why the choice of Plateau State?
Well, because I am from Plateau, though, my husband is from Kaduna. I intend to do same in Kaduna too, but, you know, they say charity begins at home. So, we are starting here and we will take it further.
Finally, what is your message to Plateau people?
Let’s put hands together in curbing this drug on the Plateau. We don’t have to let drugs take away our youths and our society, because, as it is, a lot of our youth are into drugs and then, not doing anything about it, is just like allowing it to take away our tomorrow.
If we just sit and watch without doing anything, we will wake up and have no people that would take charge of tomorrow, run our Bureaucracy tomorrow, hence the need for us to put our heads together in doing away with substances that destroy our youth. It is not just on the Plateau!