The Development of Drug Addiction Treatment Service for Ethnic South-Asians

The key objective of our services has always been to help drug abusers recognize and accept Jesus Christ, and rely on God to stay away from drugs. God’s love for mankind does not distinguish among different ethnic origins, and this we have always kept in mind in our effort to free abusers from addiction, to rebuild their life and family relationship, and to prepare them for reintegration into society.

All along, owing to shortage of resources on our part, there was no formal service catering to non-Chinese groups. Still, as early as 1992, Philippino Tomas Claudio was admitted to receive addiction treatment from us. We are grateful that after completing his treatment, he was willing to stay behind to learn to serve God and other rehabilitees. Looking back now, he has been with us for more than twenty years, and has become a valuable senior staff in our Organization.

Then in 2006, under God’s miraculous guidance, we had the opportunity to get in touch with some South-Asian ethnic churches and organizations, including Kam Kwong Nepal Christian Church and Inner City Ministries, and to discuss with them about the condition and needs of South-Asian drug abusers. The amazing thing was that the staff and General Secretary Mr. Ian Ashley of Inner City Ministries had actually been praying for the setting up of a service for this needy group. The fact that we were able to meet and discuss with them was precisely the result of God’s guidance and preparation towards that end.

In June of the same year, the Social Work Dept. of the Chinese University of Hong Kong published a research report on the subject “Drug Abuse among the Ethnic Minorities in HK”, which pointed out that there was no separate treatment service offered by local organizations to ethnic minorities abusing substances. With this in mind, and after months of discussion, planning and preparation, we finally officially launched the long awaited service catering to South-Asians on Dawn Island in July 2006.

Because of differences in cultural background and lifestyle between them, South-Asian students and local students are separated into two zones on Dawn Island, and the two groups also live, learn and receive treatment separately, so that the students within each group can be more focused and our staff can attend to them more appropriately. Our qualified social workers and preachers provide multifaceted assistance and counselling to the South-Asian students, so that they will be healed holistically in body, mind and soul. We also conduct Cantonese classes to help them integrate into the local social life, and to enhance their employment opportunity when it is time for them to return to society.

Today, the South-Asian group is no longer restricted to rehabilitees of South-Asian ethnic origin. Becoming more and more internationalized, we have had students who are local born American Chinese as well as students from the United Kingdom. Many graduates from this group have done well in mending family relationships, finding jobs outside, and serving other ethnic minorities in the community as their way of reciprocating. We have retained some Nepali graduates as our staff to serve on the Island, with the special responsibility of looking after students from their home country, while setting good examples for these students and boosting mutual confidence in the success of treatment. We have also arranged for the Nepali staff to participate in out-reaching services, to give testimonies during visits to other churches, and even to join short term missions overseas, all serving to testify the miraculous changes and work that God has accomplished in them.