Archive for November, 2017

Stakeholders closeout meeting

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We had the privilege to share our journey with our stakeholders on HIV Prevention program targeting People who use drugs through the partnership with Global fund through Kenya Red cross since 2015.
The meeting brought together Probation department, Religious leaders, NACADA, Media and other civil society organization to deliberate on the same and having a sustainability plan of the program.
The peer led program had reached to over 1500 People who inject drugs with array of services to curb HIV transmission among this key population, find attached details of the same in the presentation below.


Sensitization of Member of county assembly

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Reachout centre trust director Taib Abdulrahman address Members of

county assembly during the forum


The County Assembly is the legislative arm of the County Government which makes laws to govern certain operations; the assembly also has oversight responsibilities on the county’s operational activities. Among the mandated bestowed upon them in the Government of Kenya 2010 Constitution is; to Receives and approve plans and policies and approves the budget and expenditure of the County Government, through this Reachout centre Trust and its partners plans to involve the County assembly in implementation of by laws that will see alleviate the status of People who use drugs in Mombasa.

With the partnership of United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime  and the support from Open Society Foundation of Eastern Africa, we sensitized members of county assembly on evidence based interventions for people who use drugs.

UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Head Regional Health Programme Sylvie Bertrand addressed on the neglected People who use drugs with their concerns not addressed in a right manner as policies have been harsh on them not only in Kenya but around the Globe and better approach through Legislators is what UNODC, Civil society organization’s call.

The forum featured the Mombasa County Medically assisted therapy successes, challenges and lessons learnt since inception of the program back in 2015, Civil society organization led by RCT Director as we called of Harm reduction Intervention for People who use drugs, reform of by laws that hinders effective & efficient service provision to people with substance abuse disorder.

Methadone program

Since inception of the MAT program in Mombasa, the centre is currently serving more than 700 clients taking methadone, the program have seen a lot of people who were using drugs reforming and integrated back to the community, a number of them have been absorbed by civil society organization as peer educators, other have started their own income generating activities like; car washing, barber shop and drivers, they are even honesty with their clinicians and councilors and frequently open up on issues affecting them.

MAT Beneficiaries present during the meeting; Deborah and Fadhil as well shared their testimonials during their dark days, challenges they got when accessing health services, stigma and discrimination from the community and family members & harassment from the law enforcers, the beneficiaries conquered a lot has changed since they started taking Methadone.

Members agreed that a lot still need to be done to curb drug menace in Mombasa including; having more centers to cater for clients in different areas, already there’s a plan to start a centre in Mwembe Tayari and porteriz, there’s a need for MAT users to register themselves in groups and seek non-interest loans from the County Government to fight unemployment and relapsing and Members of county assembly should look into by laws that hinder access to service for people who use drugs and reform them


National Response for PWUD

Margret Njiraini from NASCOP took members of county assembly through punitive drug laws that continue to contribute in stigmatization and discrimination of PWUD, there is a need to focus less on obtaining convictions and more on preventing addictions (Demand Reduction).  They called members of the County assembly to seek by laws that would seek to be treat people with addictions, not handcuffing them.
Arresting, prosecuting and incarceration, placing under criminal justice supervision for a drug law violation, yet instead of reducing problematic drug use, drug-related disease transmission or overdose deaths, the drug war has actually done more harm than problematic drug use itself.

Njiraini as well adds that there’s 18,000 PWID Nationally, as part of Key population this group’s prevalence is  three times higher than the general public because of their risky behaviors of Injecting drugs and their sexual behaviors, community stigma and discrimination contributes to this as they don’t freely access health and other crucial services because they have been neglected.

Who is the Problem?

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Photo: Courtesy

Once an addict always an addict; it’s never going to change.” How many people believe this out there? It could be the addict, or the one affected by addiction in one way or the other, or someone who has never had firsthand experience in addiction (personally or through observation); but in ways more than one, many people do believe in this myth. Not because there is any logical explanation supporting this statement but because it has been repeated over and over again that it has left an imprint in our minds to an extent of becoming an actualization of the self-fulfilling prophesy of the myth. Some even believe that addicts have to hit rock bottom in order for any change to be contemplated upon.

But why is the society so focused on stigmatization that it tends to isolate addicts, making them feel that they do not belong with the rest? Why is it that as a society, we view an addict as the cause of the problem and not as someone manifesting symptoms of the problem? We are always so quick to judge because the predicament has not hit close to home and when it does, we are very silent, not uttering a single sound when we should be creating or raising awareness.

And why is drug addiction the only type of addiction you have in mind right now? I have not specified any category and yet some already assumed it is drug related. I don’t blame you; believe me, I wouldn’t even dare. It’s based on the fact that we cannot ignore the effects nurture has on us; the society wires us into thinking in certain perspectives that it makes it very challenging to openly think outside the tiny box. But don’t worry; Reachout Centre Trust’s got you.

If you are interested in any way, feel free to pop in by at our Drop in Centre in Old Town; but if your free time is limited in such a way that it makes it challenging to skedaddle to our office, we will use this platform to enlighten you to the best of our ability, regardless of the psychological issue presented. So frequently visit our site to get more updates.


Tales of Courage; Prison never changed my Moirai

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My name is Giggs, a 39 year old recovering drug user and self employed barber.  I started using drugs when I was 19 years old back then in 1998, because of friends and peer pressure. As a young person, I only used to smoke cigarette and marijuana, I had no interests with heroin. My friends had an all pass access to my place simply because I was living alone, they used to influence to try heroine and their motive triumphed.

I started using heroin and by 1999, I became an addict who could do anything a junkie would do just to satisfy my thirst for drugs.

Back then, I used to work as a driver. I lost my casual job because of my addiction and I was mentally drained. It was very hard to process such news in my head but I knew I had to cope up with the situation. Living in a city where finding a job is a job as well, I ended up selling all my belongings and ended up in the street in a time when my family would not want to hear anything about me as I used to steal from them as well.

I joined several criminal gangs because I could no longer be trusted for employment as I was criminalized because of my behavior. We would steal day and night but all we got we used it for drugs. I have had several incidents (more than ten times) where I have been lynched by the public after our deals turned sour. It’s only by God’s grace that I am narrating this to you. Not less than ten members of our gang were torched to death by angry members of the public. I have been in and out prison seven times, but all this time it didn’t click to me that I needed to change even after coming out of prison clean.

By 2013, I was fed up with the kind of life I was living, a life with no purpose and no future plans. I had lost track of my life and would let drugs take control. I felt so counterproductive, hopeless, and worthless and my life had no meaning. It’s then that I met a friend who told me about Reachout and the work they do in supporting people with drugs addiction to overcome their drug dependence. He took me to their DIC and I met a lot of my peers which really motivated me that I was not alone in this. I went through several counseling sessions by senior counselor Alfred Karisa as I was going through a lot of Trauma by then. I got the support I’d been longing for; mentally, spiritually, emotionally and above all I was shown love and affection.

I wanted to change my life but I had no one to sponsor me for drug dependency treatment. I was informed about methadone which was set to be implemented in Mombasa and I willingly agreed to it. I kept in touch with my counselors and almost one and half year later around 2015 the program started; I was among the chosen few.

During my first month at the methadone program, my life positively changed a lot from my physical appearance to experience emotion growth and how I even interacted with people. As much as I still experienced stigma, I tried not to create self stigma. It was during this moment when I was still trying to find a Job when one of my childhood friends who was keenly following on my progress asked me to start a barber shop. It had never rang in my head that I was skilled barber since my childhood; he even offered to assist me to open one.

So I started my small barber shop and every day after taking methadone I would come at my shop. My community did not fully accept me as others used to think that I’ve not fully reformed, while I had those who supported me in my recovery. Two years down the line, even those who didn’t believe in me come for my service and it is really humbling. I even have plans to expand my business, mentor and employ more youths if all goes well.

I’m more grateful for my family for accepting me in my recovery. I now have a family and I’m taking good care of them. It’s just my wish that the community will support people with substance abuse because the stigma causes more harm than good.