An organization that addresses the drug problem in Egypt (and the Arab world):
Approximately 3 to 6 million people in Egypt have serious drug abuse and dependence problems that seem to only be getting worse. The National Addiction Research Programme estimated that 2.8% of all Egyptians (around 2.4 million people in 2008) have significant drug use/dependence problems. Few years later, a 2015 survey of 106,480 subjects indicated that 19.3% were experimental substance users, 6.7% were regular substance users, and 6.4% fulfilled the criteria of dependence. This means that 6 million people at least are addicted to drugs in Egypt. Drug abuse is also most prevalent in poorer districts of Cairo.
With 8 detox centers and 56 drug rehabilitation units, offering 2800 beds, Freedom is probably the largest program of its kind in the Arab world. The rehabilitation tenure is 6 months providing a 12-Step based therapeutic community mostly for underprivileged addicts. Two thirds of the 5000 clients benefiting from Freedom residential services are either fully or partially subsidized. An estimate of 36000 addicts recovered and had their lives radically changed by the programme since it began in 1989. In addition, Freedom runs an HIV drop in center, providing an outreach and peer support program to HIV key populations chiefly peoplewho inject drugs. 15000 members of the HIV at risk population are within the network of this outreach programme which started in 2003. Freedom partnered with Tearfund UK, UNDP, UNODC, WHO, FHI-USAID, TeenChallenge, Oxfam Novib, UN Women, Geneva Global, Eva Pharma, Ana El Masry and is a founding member of ISAAC, the International Substance Abuse and Addiction Coalition, as well as the Egyptian National Fund for Drugs and the Ministry of Health. Research projects were run with East Anglia, George Washington and Columbia University as well as many national academic bodies. The department published major scientific work including the world acclaimed Biological and Behavioral Surveillance Survey (BSS 2006, 2010). 80% of the 580 paid workers and volunteers are people in recovery that are graduates of the program, some have been free of drugs for more than 20 years. The remaining staff are mainly psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and addiction counselors.
The Freedom Philosophy and Principles:
Freedom is a creative and effective program providing rehabilitation, integration and empowerment to drug addicts. It is probably the first and largest of its kind in Egypt and the Arab world. Addiction is a disease which hits the person not only physically and socially, but also hits the roots of the human soul and spirit. We know the powerlessness of each and every one of us on his/her own in face of everyday challenges, but we also believe that “together we can”.The “Therapeutic Community” principles of Freedom as well as the experiential leadership development tools are unleashed to bring in tremendous fruits in this context.
The 12- Step approach provides an inclusive philosophy of treatment that embraces people with life controlling problems of all backgrounds. Freedom is owned and operated by a Christian Body, but its management, staff and clientele include both Christians and Muslims. We believe in a spirituality of love, compassion, justice, empowerment and honesty; a spirituality that transcends religious barriers and is all-inclusive. We have programmes that are tailored to suit the needs of people from all religious backgrounds, including those with no religious affiliations. Equity and sustainability, financially-able clients are asked to pay the full expenses of treatment. Through the surplus of those who can pay, plus the support of individual friends and donor bodies, Freedom is able to support, to varying degrees, those who cannot pay the cost of their treatment.
A voice to the voiceless: Most of Freedom staff members are former drug addicts, many of whom have gone public to the TV press and e.media, as well as community based and high profile advocacy meetings, where they have shared their own life changing experience. This, put side by side with its growing network of relations, puts Freedom in a unique position to impact the culture towards a more human rights based and evidence informed approach. Freedom contributes substantially to the prevention of HIV and spread of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV).
That people suffering from addictive disorders, their families and all who are affected by them, know the miracle of change; all through Egypt, the Arabic-speaking world and beyond. A miracle of a loving and caring God seen in the ministry of our groups and individuals: “A Power in us but not of us”.
- Providing services to people suffering from addiction and their families in Egypt, the Arab states and the world to have a full chance for a better life.
- Helping vulnerable youths to find their inner power to start their recovery process before they totally give in to harmful substance abuse, addiction and unsafe sex.
- Training different groups of people with different backgrounds and aspirations to reach out to their communities to provide comprehensive bio-psycho-socio-spiritual help for those who are suffering and are desperate for finding competent and effective counseling programs.
- Preventing and containing AIDS so that it does not hit our country through the addiction and substance abuse portal.- Presenting and maintaining a vital and substantive growing body as a role model in promoting our ethical values, knowledge and skills, fulfilling our vision in impacting society. One of our main missions is to guard the unity of Freedom.
- Dealing with addiction and HIV/AIDS integrally (holistically), offering client-based care emphasizing the individual’s value and dignity.
- Functioning collaboratively in groups, while depending on the power of change towards a complete and renewable transformation.This applies to the treatment, prevention, raising-awareness and leadership management aspects.
- Our therapeutic communities are our means of prevention from addiction and AIDS. We also use the 12-Step program and different cognitive behavioral approaches among other modalities for treatment.
- Encouraging all clients and employees to develop a comprehensive support system including the support groups.
- Connecting, in everything we do, with a power in us “but not of us”
The Freedom Drugs and HIV programme is run under protocols of cooperation between three registered entities:
- Kasr El Dobarah Evangelical Church (Presbyterian) registered in accordance to the Royal Decree of 11 November 1944. Part of the Presbyterian Nile Synod and the Protestant Community in Egypt. All the Freedom properties are owned by the church and it provides the main financial and spiritual accountability structure for the programme.
- The Windows of Blessings Association: registered in the year 2010, number 2551in Alexandria to provide another accountability structure particularly to the Alexandria based projects.
- The Arab Association for Development and Networking registered in the year 2013, number 4991 in Giza to provide another accountability structure particularly to the Metropolitan Cairo and Giza based projects, and projects in the south of Egypt.