‘Drug abuse awareness at grassroots level realistic strategy’


The Foundation for a Drug-Free World (FDFW) recently held an international quiz competition titled ‘Genius Quiz Trophy 2011’.
Over 700 institutions from Islamabad, Bahawalpur, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Thatta, Karachi, Sukkur, Hyderabad, Faisalabad, Quetta, Murree, Kharian, Gilgit, Chitral, Chakwal, Sialkot, Kohat, Peshawar, Gujranwala and other cities participated in the contest.
The foundation received around 5,000 entries in each category, and the results of the competition were disclosed by the FDFW Director and Pakistan Coordinator.
The first position was bagged by Moeeza Awan of the Army Public School & College, Malir Cantt (Category 1) and Hafsa Nazir Malik of the Sadiq Public School, Bahawalpur (Category 2).
The second position was secured by Ayesha Fatima of the Dr Zareef Memorial School, Peshawar c/o the Aga Khan Development Network (Category 1) and Hafsa Naeem of The City School, Senior Girls, PECHS (Category 2).
The third position was bagged by Syeda Sundus Rizvi of the Happy Home High School, Gulshan (Category 1) and Maham Ashar of The City School, Prep Girls, PECHS (Category 2).
The fourth position was secured by Kashaf Ahmed of the Aisha Bawany Academy, Karachi (Category 1); whereas the fifth position was bagged by Rubia Fatima of the Shahwilayat Public School, Karachi (Category 1).
International certificates, ‘Genius Quiz’ trophies and other exciting prizes were distributed among all the winners and 22 special prizes were distributed among the special prize winners, whereas every runner-up was awarded a certificate of participation.
On the occasion, FDFW Pakistan Coordinator Munir Moosa Sewani appreciated all the institutions and participants for their support during the ‘Genius Quiz Trophy 2011’.
Sewani said educating about drug abuse at the grassroots level is a much more realistic strategy that could prepare children to make wise decisions in their future.
He said many children, particularly street beggars and labourers, are addicted to drugs. “However, non-governmental organisations are living in a world of fantasy, and only seek funds from donor agencies without utilising them fruitfully,” he added.
He also said education is the most powerful tool to eradicate drug abuse. He expressed disappointment in President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani for taking no action to ban smoking in public transport and at public places.
He said no practical action has been taken by the government even after submission of 20,000 pledges by the FDFW. He also said the ban on sheesha by the governments of Sindh and Punjab provinces served only as a piece of document because sheesha is still being openly consumed by the youth.
“Most people who smoke cigarettes or sheesha or consume other forms of drugs are unaware of the health risks, whereas the government is encouraging the sale of drugs to children below the age of 18,” he added.
Sewani said consumption of medicines, tea, coffee and other caffeine- and nicotine-based drinks is escalating in Pakistan, which is a sign of danger as all of these might be signs of the onset of drug addiction.
He requested the education minister to integrate lessons related to drug awareness in the primary and secondary curricula, for which the FDFW would gladly provide all moral and technical support.
Moreover, he requested all the institutions to ban within their premises carbonated drinks that contain caffeine or nicotine as the first step to bringing a change in the country.
FDFW Director Judi Shervell said the quiz was the first step towards educating children and the youth about drugs. Shervell said, “We must try to promote drug-free activities on a regular basis to prepare drug-free future generations.”
She said extracurricular activities would surely educate children and the youth to bring a gradual revolution in the future.
The FDFW is a non-profit organisation headquartered in Los Angeles, California. The Pakistan chapter of the foundation has been operating under Sewani’s guidance since 2009.
The foundation has so far organised nine international competitions in Pakistan for the cause of promoting a drug-free life among children and the youth.
The FDFW has been successful in educating around half a million youth through extracurricular activities and seminars and by disseminating free drug-awareness booklets.
Two international joint-ventures were also recently signed, besides initiating successful national projects ‘Step Ahead’, ‘Helping Day’ and ‘Make A Wish’ with the support of the civil society.


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