Young peer trainers are able to kindle the community awareness for Drugs and HIV/ AIDS, even in remote locations of Meghalaya. These young people have also set a positive example for the younger generation to help the society prevent drug use and associated risky behaviour. UNODC and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, support the awareness programmes through a joint project IND/G86- Empowering communities for prevention of drugs and HIV in India. Recently, a series of training programmes were conducted in schools, colleges and community centers of various localities of Shillong, Meghalaya, to help the youth understand the effect of drugs.
The peer trainers, Mr. Iaikynmaw, Mr. Aaron and Mr.Kipgen, were able to convince the headman of Jaiaw, Meghalaya, for organizing an awareness programme for the youth and children on 11 September 2008, at the local community hall. Not only youth, but even their parents found the programme interesting and informative. The interactive nature of the discussion left a positive mark on the participants and demystified the myths associated with drug use.
Another example of the peer driven approach is the Drug use awareness programme for IX and Xth standard students of Brook Side School, Shillong, on 19 September 2008. This was the result of the hard work of three enthusiastic peer volunteers, Mr. David, Ms. Phibahun, and Ms.Catherene, trained by the G-86 peer trainers this year. Students were encouraged to clarify their myths and misconceptions through an interactive discussion and skit on drugs and HIV.
"I have never been informed about HIV/AIDS before and I am glad that the volunteers organized such a programme, for it has really opened my eyes." - Ms. Deborah Lakiang, Teacher.
This effort motivated young participants to express their willingness to work with the peer volunteers and to make the 'I decide' campaign successful.