Rehab in Times of Crisis


For more than 20 years, the Rehab Center in the small village of Ostrovcizi near Svetlagorsk in southern Belarus has been offering drug addicts the chance to break free of their addiction and start a new life.

Around 200 addicts have now been able to leave their old lives with their destructive habits behind and build a new future. 

Freedom from addiction is only one part of rehabilitation, however. After all, in the course of the approximately twelve months of therapy and the subsequent aftercare, their entire personality is supposed to heal. This includes the rehabilitation patients learning how to enter into healthy relationships or how to restore them. The goal is also to achieve a stable personality structure, physical healing and health, and lasting integration into society and the labor market.

One of the elements of the therapy is occupational therapy. Through a variety of activities in the household and agriculture, the rehabilitants can learn to take responsibility for themselves and others, up to entire work areas. Sheep, chickens, rabbits, cows and pigs require constant care and careful attention; useful plants such as tomatoes, fruit trees or potatoes quickly show the consequences of neglect and are therefore an excellent learning field.

Another area is the renovation work that regularly occurs in a building as large as the former school in which the rehabilitation center is located. Provided the necessary materials are available, there is always plenty to do here. Past issues of the Friends Edition have reported on the renovation work at the Rehab Center, the new windows or radiators, and the painting work. Most recently, a relief goods transport was planned to bring renovation materials in addition to the urgently needed equipment for the large kitchen. 

The war situation in Ukraine also has a very direct impact on our work in Belarus. One noticeable effect is that currently all the transport companies we approached are refusing to transport the aid supplies due to safety concerns. We have therefore been able to reroute medical supplies, which are also urgently needed in Ukraine, to Kiev and Lviv at very short notice. 

All other relief goods have been stored well packed to be sent on their way as soon as the borders open for them again and it is also safe for the forwarding companies to travel this route.

We would like to thank everyone who has supported our work at the Rehab Center so far. In times of crisis like now, this is all the more valuable.