Message from the Patron
Mr. Muhammad Azam Khan
It was in mid 1992 that the necessity for a drug treatment and rehabilitation facility was envisaged. At that time drug abuse problems were increasing progressively in Pakistan and more specifically in NWFP/FATA (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) due to easy availability of cheap drugs.
A combination of economic, social and political factors in the region contributed to the escalation of drug related issues, crimes, social disorder, injustices, poverty and human rights abuses. Since there were hardly any rehabilitation facilities to cater to the affected population, the Founding members were motivated to establish the Dost Welfare Foundation (a not-for-profit NGO) under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, in August 1992. It started functioning in rented premises. Over the last quarter of a century it has established its own buildings and infrastructure. The pioneering role of Dost Welfare Foundation is now recognized both nationally and internationally.
Today Pakistan as a whole, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in particular, are in the grip of massive drug addiction which is especially affecting the younger generation adversely.
According to the latest report of UNODC and Narcotics Control Division of Pakistan, 11% population of KP is abusing hardcore drugs, which is almost double the figure of the other provinces. Despite this alarming and dangerous situation government facilities are almost non-existent and private facilities are few and unaffordable for the majority of clients.
To cater to this serious and alarming situation DOST has developed a close relationship with communities, encouraging participation of personally affected people and the community members in all its programmes. This has resulted in a deeper understanding of their needs.
With a professional and dedicated team DOST provides a continuum of care through its programmes for drug abuse prevention, detoxification, rehabilitation, vocational skills training, HIV prevention and care, human rights protection, legal assistance, research and networking with government and civil society organisations.
Since DOST is a not-for–profit organization it has continued to provide voluntary services to its clients over the last 30 years and more. It has mainly relied on project funding from national and international donors as well as family contributions. Recently it has also been supported by the KP government. In view of its status the organization has not been able to save and generate resources for an “Endowment Fund” for its long-term sustainability. It is working in areas where normally government agencies do not reach because most of the problems are deep-rooted and chronic such as drug abuse, HIV/AIDS, women and child rights abuse, and drug related crimes. This requires long-term strategic planning to ensure sustainability. This work can best be undertaken by NGOs with government support through public-private partnerships and provision of a suitable “Endowment Fund”. In most developed countries the government provides full support to such undertakings.
Notwithstanding financial constraints and obstacles, DOST has continued to work with zeal, dedication and a missionary spirit for 30 years to heal the most stigmatized and downtrodden segments of society. David Brown, a correspondent of the Daily Telegraph Magazine (UK), who visited DOST, wrote the following in his article in the above mentioned Magazine of 22 March 2014:
“The facility is unique in KP and a model of how to treat drug addiction, with high medical- staff to-patient ratios, a rational and humane three-month detoxification programme, vocational training facilities and healthy food grown in its own garden to help and heal broken minds and bodies. When operating it claimed a 65% success rate”.
Another British writer, Matthew Vaughan, in his recently published book: “Land of Beauty, Land of Pain- Seeking The Soul of Pakistan” has devoted a whole chapter to DOST titled “The Angels of Peshawar”. After visiting the organization and meeting Dr. Parveen Azam Khan and the managerial staff he has recorded the following observations in his book:
“By 1992, when Dr. Parveen began DOST, drug addiction was becoming a major problem in Pakistan”.
“The drug trade causes a host of problems: crime, family breakdown, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, innumerable public health issues……”
“What Dr. Parveen has done in response to this hellish malaise is to create DOST, perhaps Pakistan’s most pioneering anti-drugs organization which provides a number of facilities to serve drug addicts in Peshawar. DOST also runs daycare centres and residential centres where addicts receive counseling and assistance to get off drugs and become productive members of society.”
After a tour of DOST facilities, guided by Mr. Azaz, PMER Manager and Ms. Shaista Naz, Manager Guloona Children’s Services and interviewing the children drug addicts, Matthew Vaughan has this to add:
“I want to say how much I admire Shaista, Azaz and Dr. Parveen and all of the staff and volunteers who make DOST what it is, how much I admire all these angels of Peshawar who walk among brokenness and mend the broken-hearted even at the cost of having their own hearts broken. Yet I can’t. Somehow I can’t find the words”.
Before concluding, I would like to express my gratitude and thanks to all national and international donors as well as the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for their generous support and help, with the hope that they will continue to support DOST.
In appreciation for the services rendered by DOST Directors, staff and volunteers I dedicate the following quotation:
“I expect to pass through this world but once.
Any good, therefore, that I can do,
Or any kindness that I can show to my fellow creature,
Let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it,
For I shall not pass this way again”.