Fighting drugs and gangsterism

2015-05-05 06:00

AChristian-based organisation is empowering youth to make decisions against drugs and gangsterism.

Desired Identity, a non-profit organisation based in Strandfontein, is raising funds to assist any person who has a desire to come off drugs or stay away from drugs.

Last week an “inspiring session” of talks to raise funds was held in Bergvliet.

Chairperson of the NGO Doctor Laurie Rauch was one of the guest speakers and said there are many support groups for drug addicts that are focusing on children who come from “dysfunctional and disadvantaged backgrounds”, who, with help and guidance, are able to become future leaders.

“A pilot project will be run in Strandfontein where there are both individual desires and a community desire to overcome this demon called drug addiction,” he says.

Rauch says there is a desperate need for support groups in the area that are both visible and committed.

Desired Identity was started in June 2013 by Rauch and Amanda Sables.

Rauch works for the University of Cape Town (UCT) as a neurobiologist of exercise science and sports medicine.

Sables grew up in Strandfontein and has done volunteer work with court diversion cases, drug users, ex-gangsters and ex-prostitutes to help assimilate them back into society.

“We believe that our young people are searching for their identity, desiring to find out who they are and where they fit into society,” Rauch says.

Rauch’s personal journey led him to becoming the chairman of Desired Identity.

He was out training for the SA triathlon championship when he was knocked off his bicycle by a drunk container truck driver.

In the final year of a PhD in Exercise Science, Rauch now had to refocus every last bit of his energy on intensive daily rehabilitation .

He says the knowledge he had gained in his PhD was of no practical use since his research focused on muscles, metabolism and feedback from the muscle to the black box of the brain.

“This was the very systems that were now working against me, my withered muscles, from bed-rest, brain and spinal cord damage, sent out alarm signals to my brain every time I got out of bed,” he says.

However, Rauch was desperate to understand how the brain motivated and moved the body and after tapping into his pre-accident sporting experiences he started making headway.

“Learning to walk out of the parallel bars with non-existent stump and core muscles, damage to my sensory-motor brain circuits on top of spinal cord damage, demanded a very particular brain state,” he says.

Rauch says this same brain state can be put to use by anybody who wants to overcome life’s challenges, (which includes drug addiction). His current research shows that “the younger you learn to optimise your brain state the better, but it is never too late to start”.

Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the organisation can contact Amanda Sables on 072 677 8133 or email

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