Mother’s search leads to help for other addicts too

2017-07-25 06:01
Participants and their parents as part of the first intake. PHOTO: Roellien Johnson

Participants and their parents as part of the first intake. PHOTO: Roellien Johnson

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It took her six years to track down a local rehabilitation centre after hearing of its good work. Now it is helping 16 people change their lives for the better.

Community worker Fozia Rhodes has spent most of her life in service to the community. When her son was battling drug addiction, she made it her mission to not only help him, but help others in the community as well.

“I always heard about Tehillah and for six years I was looking for them. My son wanted help because he was on drugs. He was in and out of prison and he wanted help,” says Rhodes.

After admitting her son to the programme, Rhodes says when she visited him next, she barely recognised him.

“He greeted me and I asked: ‘Are you really my son?’ I did not recognise him,” she says.

Tehillah Community Collaborative is based in Elsies River.

Rhodes says she has experienced first hand how effective its programme is.

Recognising the need in a community gripped by addiction, Rhodes went the extra mile and enquired about treatment opportunities for others in the community.

“I realised that it is no use that we are the ears and eyes of the police and we cannot help those who need help in the community. That is when I contacted Tehillah to ask if they could help me with other children,” she says.

“There are lots of children in our area that is on substances who want help.”

The eight-week programme has been discounted to R2000 per person for anyone who had approached Rhodes for help.

“I had a printed pamphlet and put my phone number on it. I dropped it off at community centres and places where there are a lot of people. I had a meeting with them and the parents and spoke about the rehab centre,” she says.

Initially 28 people came forward, but on Wednesday 5 June only 16 people from Eastridge and Beacon Valley pitched up.

The participants enrolled in the programme will have one month without contact with their families, after which they will have a month in which their families are allowed to visit them.

Rhodes says the programme offers continued support thereafter.

“They get job training and continued out-patient support after they graduate and that is very good for them,” says Rhodes.

Rhodes says she hopes to run the project in other areas as well.

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