By TONY PALME
LAND has already been secured for a day care drug rehabilitation centre for victims of drug and substance abuse in Jiwaka.
Peter Kaman, founder of the centre known as ‘Bridging Gap Drug Rehabilitation Centre’ aims to take his fight against drug and substance abuse to the next level – from a small training and counselling centre to a residential setup.
“This will become the first ever drug and substance abuse residential base in the country,” a determined Kaman said.
Kaman sealed a land purchase agreement last month by making a payment of K17,000 to two local landowners from the Berepka tribe, acquiring about two hectares to build a full residential facility.
The small occasion was witnessed by South Waghi district land mediators, Sergeant Mary Gele and Constable Esther Pengie from the Jiwaka community policing unit from Minj, Phil Rojak, an Assemblies of God USA missionary to Papua New Guinea, and members of the Kugark community and Berepeka tribe.
Kaman’s vision to address drug problems in the country through his holistic approach has been recognised by Global Teen Challenge, an organisation which started in the United States.
Global Teen Challenge has branches all over the world and spreads its work of addressing substance abuse among youths by evangelising to them and making them disciples of Jesus Christ.
Global Teen Challenge was impressed with Kaman’s presentation because they saw that Kaman did similar work to what they were doing.
The proposed site will be developed from the original set up that trains and provides counselling to over 20 drug addicts and widows. It is situated about 7km from the main Highlands Highway, just after the Evangelical Brotherhood Church mission at Kugark, in the South Waghi district.
Kaman and wife Freda have created a very conducive environment that is set to offer serenity that will help remove the emotional scars of drug addicts in a controlled environment.
Kaman admitted that drug and substance abuse was a major problem affecting a lot of young people in the country, thus putting the future of the country at stake.
“Addressing drug problems is not only the responsibility of the Government or non-government organisations but individual members of the community, community leaders, police and churches also.
“We do not want to be spectators. We want to be part of the solution to this problem that is destroying our young people who will one day become leaders of our country.
“Young people are our future leaders and we cannot watch and do nothing while drugs are killing them.
“Here at Nol, we envisage change to happen in a person through the Word of God. This country will only change through the Word. We want to change drug addicts through the Word,” Kaman said.
Kaman added that the success rate was only about 10 per cent.
He called on the Government to commit resources and effort in the fight against drugs in the same way as it does for HIV/Aids, gender-based violence and other social issues.
“Since it is a day care centre, when drug addicts return home after the day’s lessons, they get hooked up to the substance again.
“We have a huge challenge to try and keep our young people away from the bad habits permanently, that’s why we want to establish a residential rehab facility to keep all drug addicts within a confined area and prevent them from having access to the substance again.”
Kaman said they have never received any support from anybody but sustained themselves through agricultural activities.
“We have been very patient and finally God brought an overseas partner here.
“I take this time to thank Global Teen Challenge for partnering us to go that extra mile in this ministry of evangelising and making disciples of Christ – soul searching and saving, from the traps of substance abuse.
“I would also like to thank Asip Onbei and Robert Saka for releasing their land.
“What we will be doing here is for the good of our community, province, region and country,” Kaman remarked.
Rojak said the interest to establish Global Teen Challenge in PNG started in 2016 when he met with Jim Lowans, coordinator for Global Teen Challenge in the Asia-Pacific region.
“In the ensuing moment after I expressed my interest for Global Teen Challenge, we set up a special orientation meeting at the end of 2016 in Port Moresby for interested churches and individuals to come and hear the presentation of the ministry by Lowans and Neil Meyer who leads Teen Challenge in Victoria, Australia and operates a centre for addicts outside of Melbourne.
“One of the attendees at the conference was Peter Kaman.
“Peter and wife Freda were already operating a day centre in Jiwaka for men who were struggling with life-controlling addictions,” Rojak said.
Peter’s programme presentation made a positive impression on Lowans and when funds were made available by a well known international ministry for the start-up of Global Teen Challenge ministries in PNG, Lowans, Meyer and Rojak all concurred that the Jiwaka programme was the ideal place to start the first Global Teen Challenge residential centre. They saw that the Kamans were already doing ministry work among addicts in the country and not waiting for government assistance to initiate or maintain their programme.
Seeing the resources that Teen Challenge offered in curriculum and programme models, Peter immediately concurred. It is hoped that the Jiwaka Teen Challenge centre will serve as a model for other programmes throughout Papua New Guinea. Rojak attested that residential centres were critical to Teen Challenge’s success as drug addicts and alcoholics would typically have greater success in overcoming lifestyle addictions when living in a controlled environment. A residential centre provides a shelter from negative influences and peer pressure that is often felt when an addict is still living inside his or her community.
Additionally, literacy and life skills will be taught that will allow the individual to function normally in society.
Global Teen Challenge was recently registered by the Investment Promotion Authority and is just beginning in the country. Translators are working the core curriculum in Tok Pisin and programme planning will soon be done.
Not only will Global Teen Challenge inPNG emphasise on residential centres but it is hoped that teaching programmes using the Living Free curriculum will be introduced into churches to assist pastors and youth leaders in teaching youth and adults to avoid a lifestyle of addiction.
Though Teen Challenge originally functioned as a ministry of the Assemblies of God USA, it now operates as an independent entity with a cross-denominational outreach.
The spiritual dimension of salvation through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross and the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual is the core component of the programme’s success.
An enlightened Kaman cannot wait to see to it that a small place he started at Nol will soon became an avenue of hope for the young people of trapped in the chains of drugs, alcohol and substance abuse.
By TONY PALME