Youth fight the scourge of drug and alcohol abuse in Zambia

Kheke Chana warns residents of a Zambian village of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Photo: ELCZ
Kheke Chana warns residents of a Zambian village of the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Photo: ELCZ

Living Reformation project has positive impact on 800 people

(LWI) High unemployment and poverty rates push increasing numbers of young Zambians to drugs and alcohol. A Young Reformer from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zambia (ELCZ), is leading a Living Reformation project to halt the use of addictive substances.

“This project has changed me personally,” project creator Kheke Chana says. “It gave me a reason to help youth facing problems with alcohol and drugs. I want to see my generation free its own generation from drug abuse.”

Youth Against Drugs and Alcohol Abuse in Zambia targets young people aged 18-30, both within and outside the church, with the goal of raising awareness among young people of the repercussions of drug and alcohol abuse.

Volunteers and church leaders are required to work together to change this situation, which affects numerous young people in Zambia. Without jobs or a sense of  perspective in life, substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, crime and domestic violence are often the consequences.

I want to see my generation free its own generation from drug abuse.
Kheke Chana, Living Reformation project coordinator

Volunteers play a vital role

Chana’s project has had a positive impact: 65 youth and 25 adults from different Zambian communities have been cured of their addiction. The team leading the project has trained 15 volunteers in several focus areas for workshops on topics, such as addiction, the dangers of addiction and its impact on social and economic networks. Young men and women are invited to the workshops, which deal with violence and domestic violence. HIV/AIDS and prostitution are further topics of the workshops.

To date, the project has reached 800 people, 90 of whom have recovered from drug and alcohol abuse.

The challenge of simply getting to the communities in Zambia has been the greatest difficulty facing the project. Participants need to have transport in order to get to the workshops. The Zambian church has helped with transport, as it views the  project favourably.

The project will be integrated into broader diaconal work that will help remote communities in Zambia. Chana calls on the ELCZ and its young members to support this diaconal mission and help their communities in different ways, one of which being to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. It also takes up the sub-theme of the Twelfth Assembly in Namibia: Human Beings – not for sale.

By David Caceres Del Castillo, edited by the Office for Communication Services.