Egmore Whannels Road is one of our contact centres in Chennai. There are 48 families living on the pavement (platform) of this area and in miserable condition with no basic amenities of toilets, or even a roof over their heads. Most of the men work as coolies and women as domestic workers. Children too were engaged in such jobs and away from school. The major problem and concern among the people here was the evil of gambling. Thus, whatever they earned for their
to receive a pleasurable feeling. This pleasurable feeling is called a 'high' and is similar to the 'high' experienced when smoking Marijuana or taking narcotics. The list of solvents that addicts use to obtain this 'high' varies considerably, but the most popular chemicals consist of glue, gasoline, butane gas, aerosol sprays, bathroom cleaners, and paint thinner. An addiction to solvent sniffing is most prevalent in teenagers and young adults. They are introduced to solvent sniffing by friends, who tell them that solvent sniffing is 'fun'. Left untreated, the person is at risk of dying from Sudden Sniffing Death.
Revathi got introduced to the habit through curiosity when she used to buy the ‘stuff' for her friend. Soon it became a habit that forced her to take two ‘sniffs' a day once in the afternoon and another in the night. Nesakkaram educator Mr. Murugesan's constant interaction with her brought enough confidence in the child and made her disclose her addiction to “sniffing”. It was found that this addiction was the reason for her dropping out from school.
She was then counseled almost daily and individual attention was given. She was occupied with play method activities especially during the ‘urge' time, that is, in the afternoons and in the nights. Her parents were also told and counseled and a watch was kept over her. They cooperated. It took nearly three months to get her out the addiction and fight over her withdrawal symptoms. After successfully overcoming the addiction she is now back to school, continues her studies and is also excelling in tailoring.
The follow-up goes on by Nesakkaram educator as she is now fully rehabilitated and out of the addiction.
living was thrown away in gambling pushing them deeper into poverty. Nesakkaram motivated the women to form into Self Help Groups (SHGs) and take appropriate corrective measures against gambling. The women realized the power of SHG and formed themselves into such groups and took unique actions of reporting the gambling to the police station. Since the complaints were coming from their own women folks, the men could not create problems against them and it made all the more easy for the police to take action, thus putting an end to gambling in that area. This area was cleansed of gambling by their own women self help group.
Apart from this they saw the power of being and coming together as a group and opened an account in a bank as a group and soon started to save money that began to grow and was a source of funding for their own needs. This has made them self-reliant and a sense of security prevailed among them. They also realized the power of education and now they take care that their children attend school while the men are encouraged by them to be engaged in useful trades.