02/15/2020, 09.18
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Assam stages Bible musical to combat drug use among children

A musical  organized by the company "The Upper Room" in Goa, involving 75 teenagers between 13 and 14 years with a history of drug abuse.  Dialogue and group work to encourage children to tell their experiences and find solutions to problems.


New Delhi (AsiaNews) - A musical on the Bible to combat drug and alcohol use among teenagers was staged at the Hilltop Christian School in Diphu, Assam, last February 8th.  Felix Anthony, spokesman for the Catholic Church in Northeast India describes the initiative and a future hopes “that seminars and musicals like this can play a key role in the difficult context of drug and drug abuse in the  whole region ".

The musical was staged by the Goa based company The Upper Room.  The preparation of the show lasted a week and involved 75 teenagers between 13 and 14 years old, all with a history of abuse of psychotropic substances, including marijuana.  Anthony explains: "They came to overcome addiction and build an ambition for their lives."

At national level, dependence on hallucinogenic substances also affects the younger generations.  According to a survey conducted by the Ministry for social justice and empowerment in 2019, about 1.3% of the population between 10 and 17 years of age consume alcoholic beverages;  in the same age group, cannabis use is 0.9%;  that of opioids 1.8%;  1.17% of inhalants (such as cocaine and amphetamine).

Georg Schaberger, cofounder of the theater company, says: "The more the boys practiced interpreting the biblical characters like Job, the more they expressed self-confidence and showed courage and determination in facing the challenges of the moment".  According to him, "both transformations, that of Job and our teenagers, were possible thanks to their ability to change and resist adverse circumstances, not giving up their beliefs despite the negative experiences of the past".

Ansan Samuel, one of the members, explains that before the final performance, the group organized meetings where the young people were able to talk about personal problems.  The sessions, he highlights, “served to help them find possible solutions.  Dialogue and group work play a crucial part in our model, based on experiencing a transformation of school culture centered on appreciation, a sense of gratitude and the formation of leadership ".

One of the participants said: "There is a me who now wants to lead."  Another adds: “The Upper Room has planted positive seeds in our lives.  We hope that these seeds grow to become large trees that produce good fruit for society. "  Esther Suibung Khozol, principal of the Christian school, expresses "satisfaction for the seminar and the hope that it will have a lasting impact on young people".

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