Tuesday, June 30, 2009


INSTITUTION : Kripa Foundation
Mt. Carmel Church
81/A, Chapel Road, Bandra, Mumbai
AGENDA : Institutional Visit
TARGET GROUP : Alcoholics and Substance Abused
ISSUE : Health, Rehabilitation
NAME : Prasant Mohanty
ROLL NO. : 2009SW89
DATE/DAY : 29.06.09/ Monday


Since its inception in 1981, Kripa Foundation has gradually grown into the biggest NGO in India working in the area of chemical dependency. It was the brainchild of Padmashree Fr. Joe Periera who is also the Manage Trustee. They currently have centers in 11 states in the country (namely, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Karnataka, West Bengal, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Assam, UP, Jharkhand & NCR. Since Kripa is affiliated to the Union Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India provides grants for its projects. This apart many National and International funding agencies also contribute to Kripa. The Mumbai centre based out of Bandra caters to alcoholics and drug addicts.


Kripa believes in a concept of ‘holistic rehabilitation’ where in the addict has to surrender himself/herself to the residential process that lasts for over three months. One aspect of the organization that I found really interesting was the ‘Disease Model’ of de-addiction where focus is on changes in lifestyle and abstinence. The model has seen lesser and lesser relapse rates over the years. Another reason for this improvement is the involvement of experiential counselors who were themselves addicts once upon a time. The methodology followed is a blend of Eastern (which include modules of Yoga, Meditation and Taichi) and Western techniques (like the 12 step program suggested by the Alcoholic Anonymous Body of the US).

The family intervention technique used by Kripa is a special mention. During the program they follow a family system therapy where its made sure that the family is brought at par to the developments of the inmate every week and is also interfaced with the patient twice a month to sort out differences and improve relationship. When the program for an inmate is over Kripa does a systematic post discharge follow up to enquire how the inmate has been coping up. All this is really important because outside the boundaries of Kripa, the inmates family is his/her true support and plays an important role in sustenance of sobriety of the inmate. There is however a downside to this model. Kripa is not able to solicit cases with poor/no family backing. The organization also claims that the Mumbai centre only get about 2 charity cases in a month. They added that the charity cases are either referred by a church or a politician and are approved by Fr Periera, the founder himself.

Offlately Kripa has diversified into HIV/AIDS awareness after realizing that a lot of cases of drug abuse are actively contributing to propagation of HIV infection as well. Programs like VRACS(VASAI Region AIDS Control Society) and ADAP(Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention Program) are mediums where paraprofessionals and per educators go out to communities and schools to campaign on issues of drug adiction and HIV infection.


I am reflecting on the importance of institutions like Kripa Foundation in Mumbai based on the experiences that I have had in the last few days. After going through these moments I could really get a balanced perspective on the issue of chemical dependency and its impact of the youth and the affluent class of Mumbai.

‘On the evening of 19th July when I boarded the 505 shuttle from Bandra to TISS, I was unknowingly seated next to a gentleman who kept on insisting that he wanted to smoke. Minutes later he himself confessed that he was addicted to cocaine and took two liberal doses of the grey substance in the midst of the crowd.’

‘The very next day in when I was in queue for a railway ticket, I realized that people around me were intently watching a string of commercial coming on the flat screen TV’s all around me and it was about substance abuse and abstinence.’

It became very evident that the chemical dependency problem is gradually blowing out of proportion in Mumbai and organizations like Kripa will play a key role in sanitizing the addicts. I also came to understand that over the years, Kripa has been able to narrow down its target audience to only a certain class of patients which are mostly from well-to do-families and only marginalized in aspects of the trauma they face and their medical condition. On a more difficult and critical note I would like to outline some aspects of Kripa’s model which if taken care of, can be much more inclusive in terms of reach in numbers.

The dependency of the addict on a family or guardian by their side
The cost factor of the course and affordability (the course costs a minimum of Rs. 14000)
The channels adopted to refer a charity case
The focus on cure and not prevention
The mandate for inmates to discontinue practice of livelihood for the period of treatment

One reason for being disappointed was that most of the organizations that are working against chemical dependency follow a curative philosophy and not preventive(which is very prevalent in the West). Kripa’s harm minimization measures introduced in community settings are quite controversial. On a positive note, providing fresh needles and contraceptive protection for drug users is a novel way to check the spread of HIV infection but this can also provide a scope for the drug addicts to be more generous and reckless in their actions. Furthermore they can use the same freebies to lure people into drug usage.

Also it felt good to hear that Kripa is a very flat organization in terms of institutional hierarchy. But this statement was later followed by a very contradictory statement which gave hints of a possible one-man-show and underlying redtapism in the system. Having said all that and considering the amount of influence drugs and alcohol have on today’s youth, Kripa’s existing intervention model has got tremendous scope in all the geographic areas where their centers have sprung up.

No comments:

Post a Comment