A visit to SPYM, an NGO which reaches out to the most disadvantaged sections of the Indian society
By Ram Raman, Director, Dianova USA
Dianova International was disappointed when the much anticipated visit of Dr. Rajesh Kumar of the Society for the Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM) to Washington, DC did not take place as his onward journey with Turkish Airlines left him stranded at Istanbul Airport. Dr. Kumar was stuck at Istanbul Airport when a bloody coup involving President Erdogan and his army took place, wherein more than 300 people were killed and more than 2,100 were injured. During this time, we anxiously kept in touch with him, informing him as much as possible as to what was happening in Turkey through news sources we got from television and social media whenever he stayed networked with us.
After three traumatic days, Dr. Kumar was safely airlifted to India. We were very relieved to see his safe return to India, though Ram Raman of Dianova USA, and Ms. Saionara König Reis of Dianova International were already at Washington, DC awaiting his arrival.
However, Ram Raman, Director, Dianova USA, was able to visit SPYM and meet with Dr. Rajesh Kumar at their offices in New Delhi this July 2016 and see first-hand the yeoman work they do.
SPYM is an Indian NGO established in the year 1985. It has been in the forefront of providing treatment and rehabilitation services to the teen substance abusers in India. Noticing that “virtually every drug that is abused by adults is also abused by the adolescents,” SPYM has launched several innovative and unique methods to help the dependent teens to rehabilitate and re-join society with pride and respect. In this, SPYM has been able to work with various international agencies, most notably UNODC, UNICEF, UNAIDS, UNDP and UNFPA, along with Indian Governmental agencies such as the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB), the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO), Ministry of Women and Child Development, and Ministry of Health and Family welfare.
Dr. Rajesh Kumar, a very dedicated social worker, has been familiar with the workings of Dianova International as he had visited some of our centres in Spain, Portugal and France back in the old days. Dr. Kumar has modelled his centres much like Dianova and has drawn inspiration from them. He has received many awards, including the National Award for Outstanding Services in the field of Drug Abuse prevention for “best innovative practices” from the Hon’ble President of India in 2014.
SPYM has Drug de-addiction and rehabilitation centres in New Delhi, Chandigarh, Guwahati, Jammu, Srinagar, and Darjeeling. Some of the services offered by them are: detoxification and emergency treatment, psychotherapy, family work, recreational therapy, home visits, as well as individual, group and family counselling.
Since 2006, SPYM has had a Drop in Centre (DIC) at Kotla Mubarakpur, New Delhi, where they offer a needle exchange program, doctor consultations, referrals to other free medical services, dissemination of materials relating to HIV/AIDS, as well as Buprenorphine treatments for cocaine harm reduction.
SPYM has also successfully helped in the treatment of Juvenile addiction by early intervention, preventing them from falling into its vicious cycle.
Many adolescents from very poor backgrounds abandoned by their parents have been rescued with the help of the Indian Judicial system, aided in rehabilitation, and made into productive youths. With the partnership of the Delhi Police, SPYM has rescued many street and slum children in its centre in Chandni Chowk in New Delhi. This has helped in the prevention of these children descending into a life of crime and drug addiction.