Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP)

Refugees arrived from neighbouring Afghanistan as a result of the Russian invasion in 1979. These people had suffered the horrors of war, including losing all their property and most male members of their family.

Opium use became rife in the camps, as this was something that was traditionally used as a remedy for ailments for the entire family. Due to their traumatic experiences and the stresses of being totally destitute, they now started using it to relieve their mental anxieties as well. Amongst the younger generation cannabis and heroin use also started.

DOST has been working with the refugees since 1998, providing services and Drop-In Centres for the addicts and giving them treatment and rehabilitation in the Residential Centres. In 2002, DOST started home-based treatment and rehabilitation for women and children in 35 camps across the NWFP. They were also given vocational skills training to provide them sustainable livelihood.

Existing healthcare and community development workers in the camps were provided with capacity building in drug demand reduction. Young people were also provided with recreational facilities in the camps.

The Afghan refugees have also been provided with legal assistance and repatriation services. VCT (Voluntary Counselling& Testing) Centres for HIV AIDS, Hep B & C, and STIs(Sexually Transmitted Infections) have also been set up.

DOST works also with Internally Displaced Persons affected by natural disasters like earthquakes and floods, and more recently with the IDPs escaping the insurgency in the north west of Pakistan. DOST provides them with food, shelter, clothing, medical services and psychosocial counselling. Children arriving from an orphanage in Swat were specially referred to DOST by UNICEF where they were provided a safe and nurturing home.

"This is the duty of our generation as we enter the twenty-first century -- solidarity with the weak, the persecuted, the lonely, the sick, and those in despair. It is expressed by the desire to give a noble and humanizing meaning to a community in which all members will define themselves not by their own identity but by that of others".

Elie Wiesel- Writer, Political Activist