National President YMMA and Chairman NDDCB signing the agreement
By Ruzaik Farook
The All Ceylon YMMA Conference signed an agreement with the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board whereby they would lease out a property they own at Minuwangoda to establish a faith based drugs rehabilitation centre for a period of 30 years.
Marking the occasion, All Ceylon YMMA Conference National President Sadique M. Saleem and National Dangerous Drug Control Board Chairman Dr. Chamira Nilanga Samarasinghe signed the agreement representing respective institutions at a simple ceremony that took place at Zahira College, Colombo recently.
Speaking at the occasion Sadique Saleem said that it was a historical occasion for the YMMA Conference as significantly 65 years ago on 30 April 1950 the YMMA Conference saw its birth at the same college premises spearheaded by the late Dr. A.M.A. Azeez, who was also the Principal of Zahira College at that time. Since then, the YMMA has got themselves involved in many community based projects which has brought in immense value to the day to day lifestyles of the ordinary masses of this country.
He recalled that many illustrious Past Presidents who held the reigns of National Presidency since then have become important stake holders of this achievement. He also said that the YMMA Conference was involved in the anti-drug programs that were taking place in the country under the aegis of the Government and UNHCR. He mentioned the Kandy Drug Rehabilitation Centre that is operative now with the support of the UNHCR as a successful project that is being conducted at present.
He thanked Nilanga Samarasinghe, who took keen interest in promoting the concept of establishing a faith based rehabilitation centre which would bring about long lasting effect in rehabilitating the drug addicts.
He also said as a means of strengthening the efforts of President Maithripala Sirisena in creating a drug free society in the country, the YMMA took this step in striking a deal with the NDDCB, so that an exclusive centre for Muslims could be installed. He thanked the donors of the premises at Minuwangoda, Kemal Mardeka Miskin and Zanir Anomi Miskin, a Sri Lankan couple now domiciled in Australia, in which the proposed Drug Rehabilitation Centre would be installed.
Zahira College Principal Trizviiy Marikkar lauded the exemplary step of the YMMA Conference in establishing the said Drug Rehabilitation Centre with the assistance of the NDDCB. He said that eradication of the drug menace has become priority number one in the society today, due to the increasing instances of drug dealing and usage in the society. He said that the problem is reaching menacing proportions at the moment and everyone in the country needs to address this situation properly and effectively to ensure the dawn of a drug free society.
He assured that every possible effort would be taken by him to ensure that proper education is imparted to the students, the up and coming youngsters of the future, so that the students would get the first handed information with regard to the dangers that it would bring to the country if the menace is not controlled. He said that the role of the parents in the society is very vital in bringing up a sound minded generation forward. In this direction the role of the teacher is also an important factor to build up a society free of vices.
Dr. Samarasinghe said that the concept of a faith based rehabilitation centre is an effective measure that the NDDCB has commenced to maintain a successful method of rehabilitation of the drug users in this country. He said that out of the 60,000 to 80,000 proven drug addicts in this country more than 50% is found to be from the Muslim community. This is an alarming situation for a community whose population is around 10% in the country. He also said that all the religious leaders of the world who preached various religions, Prophet Muhammad is one who vehemently opposed and condemned the use of drugs or narcotics in addition to the Lord Buddha and Jesus Christ.
The narcotic use which was prevalent in the world in the olden days has developed to the use of drugs in the current society. So, Muslims should have been more adherent to the teachings of the Prophet who preached the great religion of Islam as bestowed on him by Almighty Allah. He expressed confidence that the pioneering step taken by the All Ceylon YMMA Conference in establishing the centre at Minuwangoda should be an exemplary act for all other similar organisations in the attempt of eradicating the drug menace from the country. He also expressed confidence that the centre that is to be established would bring successful results before very long.
The signing event was preceded by an Anti-Drug seminar organised by the Narcotics Division of the Maradana Police Station for the benefit of senior students of the college.
Teachers and senior students were present at this event.