University students support recovering drug addicts

Asheeqah van der Rede, front, from Hanover Park had her hair done by Jade Persens.

Recovering drug addicts at a Hanover Park rehab heard from social-work students last week how a healthy diet can help them get well.

The third-year University of the Western Cape students have been placed at the Sultan Bahu Rehabilitation Centre – which is based in Hanover Park, Parow and Mitchell’s Plain – for eight-month stints as part of their practical course work.

Under the eye of a registered social worker, the students run group sessions and support those in recovery.

Last Wednesday, during a wellness day at the Hanover Park centre, the students spoke to more than 170 convalescents.

The Hanover Park centre’s treatment manger, Shuaib Hoosain, said the students had been a great help to those in recovery.

“Their programme gives our clients the confidence they have lost and empowers them to do better and be better. It teaches them how to change their own lives by starting to put thought into what they put into their bodies. Health and wellness is something that is lacking in our communities.”

UWC student social worker Adrian Hill said there was a high relapse rate at the rehab centre, but good nutrition could help to drive it down.

“We teach them about various things they can do, what to eat and what not to eat, and how they can help themselves to prevent a relapse,” he said.

A fitness instructor, Carmen Klink, said a balanced diet and exercise were important for staying fit and fending off hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and cancer. “Have your cereal, a sandwich, and fruit. Eat veggies, protein and drinks lots of water and exercise regularly. It is important for your mind and body to be healthy. What you put into your body is what you will get out. What you feed your body will prevent you from getting sick.”

Former drug addict Kashiefa Vansitters said people on drugs often forgot to eat.

“This will stay with me because now I know what I should put into my body,” she said.

Ridaa Daniels, who was addicted to drugs for 14 years, said the students were very supportive.

“It’s good that people have time for us, to care for people that don’t care about themselves. They give us great advice.”