Saturday, September 3, 2011

H.E.A.L. 's Chaitram Kapoor Rampersad receives National Award

Article :

Also receiving a Humming Bird Medal (Bronze) was community and social activist Chaitram Kapoor Rampersad who is the co-ordinator of HEAL—a drug rehabilitation centre at Couva.

Rampersad said he has dedicated the last 38 years of his life to community service.

He is one of the founding members of HEAL which has been in existence since 1990.

"It was a joint venture programme between Caroni (1975) Ltd and the All Trinidad Sugar and General Workers' Trade Union," Rampersad said.

"At that time there were a lot of drug-related and alcohol-related incidents in Caroni so the union and the company came together to come up with a solution to the problem.

There was no industrial policy that would assist workers who were found under the influence and had incidents of drug and alcohol related accidents and so on. They used to be fired and suspended. So we decided to create a programme that would assist the employees instead of them being suspended or fired."
Rampersad said the programme was heavily subscribed and very soon even members of the community, who were not employed at Caroni, started showing up at the centre.

"At that time, from the banks of the Caroni River right down to South, there were no rehabilitation centres. There were no facilities to treat alcoholics and drug addicts. So because of the need, we had to extend the services to the rest of the national community."

To date, we have had more than 2,000 clients pass through the residential programme while approximately 700 to 1,000 clients have been enrolled in the outpatient programme."

Rampersad said the nongovernmental organisation, at Milton Road, Milton Village, Couva, receives an annual subvention from Government but he says it is woefully inadequate.
"The building we are using is one of Caroni's old bungalows which is almost 100 years old. The building is in great need of expansion and repairs."

Rampersad said the award he received is a tribute to all the men and women who continue to work in the field of drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

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