English | Dzongkha Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Happiness centre in Phuentsholing struggles to remain afloat amidst lockdown


Dec 31, 2020

Just about a year old, Happiness Center – the after-care home for alcohol and drug addicts in Phuntshogling is struggling to function normally. A home to drug and alcohol dependents, the lockdown has brought about distortion in its functioning. 

The operation of the center is dependent on contributions from local supporters, but amidst the lockdown, it is on its own. Volunteers and contributors are not able to visit the center and this leaves Bhup Dhoj Ghalley and Ugyen Dorji, co-founders of the center, all by themselves, attending to their clients.

With locals supporting them with food and other essential supplies, Bhub Dhoj said they were able to run the center comfortably during normal days. 

”But because of the lockdown, our supporters can’t visit the place. We run out of stocks and since we are volunteers here, we don’t have money to replenish the stocks,’’ he added. 

The volunteers in the center provide counseling services, meditation, and take clients for detoxification, among others. And Ugyen Dorji said this is all free and they have zero gain out of this.

On the brighter side, the center has immensely helped lots of clients get rid of their addiction. Tashi Tobgay once attended the sessions at the center and was able to beat his addiction, but he relapsed again. He said that he found his way back to the center and the co-founders took him to the hospital for detoxification. Today, he is doing fine. 

Similarly, the center also sent Chador Namgay, another client to a rehab center in India. After three months of rehab, he returned clean. Today, he works at the center as a staff.

In less than two years, the center has helped over 150 youths and 15 homeless people. The center had also sent 34 drug and alcohol addicts to rehab centers in India and supported the detoxification of some 90 people. The center also cremated three dead. Currently, there are 19 recovery addicts in the center.  

Sonam Penjor

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