”Tell me, I will forget
Show me, I may remember
Involve me, and I’ll understand”
– Chinese proverb
In June 2006 some MMT clients those were associated to AHRN as peer educators expressed their interest to set up their own support group. A process of setting up a self help group which belongs to them was explored through peer educators trainings and health education session at AHRN Drop-in-Centre.
The collective efforts by interested clients and AHRN team members made to attain more clarity on scope, nature and structure of first peer led support group including ex/former and current drug users in Northern Shan State.
The session on peer led group, at regular meetings and health education generated lot of interests among MMT clients which subsequently assisted to form a self help group. A series of meetings imitating a consultation process at AHRN provided technical guidance and support to establishment process.
On 29th June 2006 during Monthly Dinner with clients, a final decision was unanimously taken with an official name as “Black Sheep”. The same day in an evening meeting with 15 like-minded clients proposed a structure of peer led group.
Black Sheep is a peer led self help group of individuals who had problems with their personal drug use and now they are trying to find the ways to come out of drug use. The sheep are normally white color but the black one is strange among the sheep for many reasons. The black colored are discriminated from their community. The drug users have similar experience in their lives as they are the mostly discriminated from the family, and community because of their drug use.
The members perceived that this name describe their personality as well as personal experience. And they believe by self help initiatives they can help each other in recovery process and make changes in their lives.
Technical support from AHRN included
The people who regularly visit and access AHRN DIC/OPO and are willing to help others in recovery, drug using problems, family problems and problems with employment.
Black sheep is a group where decisions are taken purely on the basis of open discussion in close meetings. The structure has direct association between Black Sheep Board and Black Sheep members.
Black sheep provides an equal opportunity to all which means board members and members are regardless of race, color, nationality, caste, creed, HIV status and sex are same in spectrum of Black Sheep attempts. The selection of board members will be decided according to the consensus of members with an anonymous voting system on the yearly basis.
Selection of black sheep members will be decided by the board members with the regardless of race, color, nationality, caste, creed, HIV status and sex.
Membership can be taken away, maybe through voting system. Same for Board members (can also have yearly voting there? The selection of board members will be decided according to the consensus of members with the system of anonymous voting on the yearly basis. .
Black Sheep Group members are expected to follow:
|Milestone of Black Sheep Peer Support Group|
|June, 2006||Idea of drug users group was came in mind with some drug users been attended in Peer Education training|
|29th June, 2006||General discussion with some interested drug users by former training officer, Ms Mya Thida Aung|
|July, 2006||Officially named as a Black Sheep Peer Support Group|
|August-Dec, 2006||Series of discussion with drug users and draft of constitution can be established|
|2007||Steering board committee selected initiated in some IG activities such as food catering, selling of purified water, cleaning, painting, etc with limited funding|
|2008||UNDP supported Seed fund under HDI program which can promote more efficiently in IG activities and can support BSPSG members as a social support when they are sick or hospitalized or decent death|
|2009||UNDP supported second round of Seed Fund under HDI project|
|Dec, 2009||Two Black Sheep members attended National Drug User Network-Myanmar meeting at Yangon|
|2010-2013||Black Sheep Hphakant, Bamaw, Waimaw was set up as a clone of BSPSG, Lashio with some drug users. Currently, they are start operating in IG activities|
|2011-2012||BSPSG 24 hour Care Center, Lashio was set up and operational through 3DF Funding.|
|2013||BSPSG 24 hour Care Center, Lashio was continued operational through 3MDG Funding and a new BSPSG 24 hour Care Center, Seng Taung is started in August 2013.|
Black Sheep Peer Support Group (BSPSG) is a self-help group that grew out of AHRN services, and provides equal opportunities and services regardless of race, color, nationality, caste, creed, HIV status and sex.
BSPSG members showed a great willingness and build up fexperience in providing care and support for their less fortunate peers.
Drug users are marginalized and discriminated by society and even by their own families, therefore homelessness and severe health challenges are two most common challenges they face.
Under the CBO initiatives supported by 3DFund a 24 hours and 15 bedded Care Centre was granted to Black Sheep Peer Support Group in Lashio since May 2011.
This centre offers 24 hours care to (terminally) ill drug users. The key feature of these services is a strong commitment and care-giving attitude by (former) drug users, some of them on Methadone Maintenance Therapy (MMT). The overall care approach is based on the ‘Buddy Care System’ to benefit former drug users in their self-esteem and recovery through supporting their peers.
“Black Sheep Peer Support Group (BSPSG)” has changed its name into “Better Shade Peer Support Group (BSPSG)” (အရိပ္စစ္ဘ၀တူကူညီမွဳအဖြဲ႔) effective from June 2013.
On 21 March 2013 and valid until 31 December 2017, BSPSG finally was approved and officially registered with the Ministry of Home Affairs (Registration number 2073). Nevertheless with 1 big change; the name ‘Black Sheep’ was changed upon request of the concerned authorities for faster processing. As such the new (and officially registered) name is ‘Better Shade Peer Support Group; the initials remain the same and all other requirements and aims remain the same.