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July 25 1989

The first rehabilitation center for drug addicts in Bangladesh celebrated its first anniversary here July 1 with Archbishop Michael Rozario of Dhaka inaugurating a new house for the center.

The Bangladesh Rehabilitation and Assistance Centre for Addicts (BARACA) was initially planned by Holy Cross Brother Donald Becker, who had visited a drug rehabilitation center in Kathmandu in 1987.

The visit inspired Brother Becker to start a similar center in Bangladesh.

On his return, he discussed his plans with Holy Cross Brother Jarlath D´Souza, already working in Dhaka with the rising number of drug addicts.

A committee was formed and Holy Cross Brother Ronald Drahozal was asked to animate a voluntary service. Brother Drahozal and Tomas Baroi, a local doctor, then visited the Saint Joseph´s Rehabilitation Centre for Addicts in Calcutta and the one in Kathmandu.

Together, they started BARACA on July 1, 1988, at Hairampur, Dhaka, with only two addicts.

The center was financed by the Holy Cross Congregation, then later was accepted by Caritas Bangladesh as one of its 32 projects.

BARACA now serves 34 drug addicts -- 18 of them Christian, 16 Muslim -- all in the 18-24 age group. Most of them are educated bachelors.

The center´s daily routine of prayer, study, work and sharing starts at 6:30 a.m. and ends by 10:30 p.m. Various kinds of therapy are offered, as well as vocational training in typing and building skills.

Sport facilities, games, radio and television are also available.

BARACA, a center of "hope" for young addicts, depends upon the cooperation and generosity of society, the Church and patrons for its survival.