ICON_PLACEHOLDEREstimated reading time: 3 minutes
Focusing on local economic development and unemployment, three Newcastillians are assisting addicts in combatting drug addiction while helping them re-establish a prospective future.
Eben and Denise Steyn, alongside Patrick Kelly, run a rehabilitation centre with a unique approach to overcoming substance abuse. Under the umbrella of AlmalHelpAmal Vlerke, El Roi Newcastle looks at assisting drug addicts in kicking their habit, while developing skills to contribute to the local workforce.
Denise explains, “We initially began the initiative back in 2015, where we would help one addict at a time. But since the beginning of the year, we have been going full out.”
Situated 20km outside of Newcastle, Eben states that most of the people they work with are skilled or semi-skilled artisans. Before coming in for treatment, these individuals first undergo a telephonic interview, before undertaking an intensive assessment to establish their respective trades’ competency.
Those who are not semi-skilled or skilled artisans are also assisted, with the assessment looking at their respective strengths.
Patrick further expounds, “When they come here, they come in with little self-worth. From my side, I help with counselling, while Eben looks at sharpening their work skills, technique and knowledge.”
These work skills include plumbing, boiler making, painting and general handyman skills.
Denise highlights that the reasoning behind putting so much focus on developing addicts’ skills is that after recovery, El Roi Newcastle then helps them secure employment. “We help them get jobs, with some being fortunate enough to return to their former employers.”
Patrick adds that it also offers former addicts the opportunity to gain enough knowledge to establish their own businesses, allowing them to employ others.
Moreover, Eben stresses, “I have learned, without physical labour, one tends to become lax. But with it, you become more motivated. My goal is to see these people become more motivated and reach their full potential.”
It is essential to note, during their time at the centre, addicts are paid salaries for their labour, given free boarding and receive three square meals a day—motivating them to develop a sense of self-pride and become more self-sufficient.
Currently, AlmalHelpAlmal Vlerke El Roi Newcastle works with three people, although, they have a waiting list of approximately 200 people. The rehab centre, according to Denise, enjoys a 100% success rate.
Looking at the location, being situated on a farm contributes to the success rate, as addicts also find themselves participating in chores around the farm—ranging from fixing fences, planting food and caring for livestock.
But what happens if one of the addicts relapse? Eben points out, “If a person relapses, they can’t come back. Coming here is the last chance at help they have.”
As the trio looks at setting former drug addicts on the path to becoming functional members of society, they require assistance from other businesses. Help needed ranges from acquiring bigger premises, more beds, hygiene products and food. Denise says, “At the moment, we are paying for everything from our own pockets.”
If anyone would like to assist, Eben Steyn can be contacted on 076 603 3732, while Denise can be contacted on 078 900 9809. Newcastillians can also visit their Facebook page on @Almalhelpamalvlerke Elroi Newcastle.