Rumah Cemara Youth Program - 6 Months On

In September 2012, Youth RISE supported the development of a youth program at Rumah Cemara, a community based NGO that provides peer services for people affected by drug use and HIV in Bandung, Indonesia. Whilst successful in providing harm reduction services for older (30+) people who inject drugs, they were not reaching young people who use drugs, particularly those who were not yet injecting.

Six months on, Rumah Cemara has successfully involved fifty young people who use drugs in the program. Many of these youth are street connected, and had little knowledge about the drugs they were using and how to reduce harm, sexual health and HIV.

Since launching the program, the youth have participated in a number of workshops on HIV and harm reduction, English classes, oopportunities for creative expression, and have been provided with a safe place at Rumah Cemara where they can talk to staff about their concerns and needs until they can fundraise for their own youth friendly drop in space. The program adopts a holistic approach and understands that drug use is just one aspect that need to be addressed. The program is also highly participatory, engaging the youth in all aspects of the program activities.

Last week, the program held a workshop on 'Problem solving', and the youth learnt skills on how to solve problems that arise in their daily life. Discussions also focused on being positive, creative, and accepting that reality may not be the same as what we expect.

The Rumah Cemara Youth Program will be presented at the International Harm Reduction Conference on the panel 'Children, young people and drug use: policy, law and practice.' Major Room 1, Monday 10 June 2-3:30pm.