What is the Recovery Foundation?
The Recovery Foundation is a non-profit organisation (NPO) managed by three passionate individuals who are united in their fight to break the stigma of substance abuse, and to help maladjusted people reintegrate and reconnect with society.
The Recovery Foundation looks at the external and environmental circumstances that surround drug addiction and chemical dependency, such as trauma, abuse, and unhealthy environments, to better understand why a person engages in regular substance abuse. The Recovery Foundation team emphasises the importance of connection and purpose. The Foundation believes that through creating healthy environments, encouraging strong and meaningful relationships, and fostering an individual’s passion for sports, cultural activities and other healthy outlets, people with substance abuse issues may overcome their circumstances and find a new way to live.
What is the main purpose of The Recovery Foundation?
The Foundation seeks to help those with traumas process their feelings and pain. The Recovery Foundation team also seeks to help those affected by abuse and trauma to create healthy environments at work and at home, which in turn leads to the recovery of the community.
Before the Foundation was officially registered as an NPO, Roberto Ferreira, director and founder of The Recovery Foundation, completed the Cape Argus under his own name and held a soccer fundraiser to create awareness and inspire donations for the cause. These donations were used to help people get into treatment centres. After the NPO’s registration, the Foundation organised a cycling team of 22 people to participate in the 947 cycle race, which raised a considerable amount of money for the cause: R36 680.64. Since then, The Recovery Foundation has been going from strength to strength in terms of fundraising and helping people with addiction. In 2019, The Recovery Foundation entered a team of 56 cyclists (addicts and non-addicts) into the 947 Cycle Challenge and managed to raise R66 191.27 in order to to give those people who cannot afford it the opportunity to recover.
Sporting events are a major focus of the Foundation. The Recovery Foundation is involved in running races, cycling, and football fundraisers. By increasing chemically dependent people’s involvement in sports and team play, these individuals feel connected with others and feel a part of something healthy and fun, which encourages them to take care of themselves and put down the drugs. Many of the Foundation’s fundraising events involve the dedication and participation of recovering addicts who have found a new way to live by engaging in these events and making friends through sports. The Recovery Foundation encourages the people they help to embrace a healthy lifestyle, provides them with emotional support, and educates them about living with addiction.
A main goal of The Recovery Foundation is to help those who are not cared for by the system – those at the bottom end of society. The funds raised by the NPO are used mainly to help those who have nothing and are on the street, or about to be put on the street. The Recovery Foundation pays for their treatment, helps them to get clean, and assists with their reintegration into society with a focus on skills development, work opportunities and long-term housing.
“The ultimate goal is to eradicate addiction.”
How does The Recovery Foundation facilitate skills development, family reintegration and basic coping skills?
Currently, the NPO outsources the work to treatment centres, rehabilitation centres and halfway houses. However, the next goal is for the Foundation to have their own facility. In terms of the outsourcing, the team is very involved in the processes that treatment centres use and their programmes. This is to ensure a good fit and a healthy environment for the patient. At these centres, skills development courses are held as well as therapy groups with family members. The patients are also taught effective coping skills to help them feel, heal and deal with their emotions and traumas.
How does The Recovery Foundation seek to fight the stigma of drug users and substance abuse?
The NPO aims to destroy the stigma of drug users as criminals in society. There is a general perception that drug users are “subhuman”. As a result, they are treated this way by the people they need most: doctors, police officers, family and friends. By spreading awareness of the cause, the Foundation hopes to change society’s view of people with substance abuse problems.
This cause has not been addressed enough in South Africa. However, on a positive note, there has been movement in the right direction. In South Africa, our progress is a bit slower than other countries, and we are considered late bloomers in terms of methadone programmes and availability of other treatment programmes. It is also important to remember that there is corruption surrounding substances, and there is a huge amount of money being made off of drugs. There is resistance to change because there are a number of people who stand to lose a lot of money when the approach to drugs changes, and old controlling ways are eliminated.
What is The Recovery Foundation’s vision for the future?
The Foundation aims to open their own facility where they can offer treatment and skills development, and also assist their patients with finding work opportunities. The NPO wants to provide those on the street with a healthy and safe place to stay – a means of lifting people out of violent communities or abusive home environments so they may find a purpose and connect with others in a meaningful way. This centre would also offer trauma counselling for those affected by trauma, abuse and violence, as well as its own detox centre. In addition, the Foundation hopes to have the involvement of educational institutions in assisting with the provision of practical workshops and groups that concentrate on the acquisition of life skills and career goals.
What can you do to help?
To date, The Recovery Foundation has helped seven people to get treatment. One individual is now over two and a half year’s clean and has been successfully reintegrated into society. You can read her story here.
In addition to those The Recovery Foundation has helped to gain access to treatment, the NPO has also helped people with substance abuse problems by supporting their recoveries in a number of ways, ranging from emotional support to involvement with the Foundation’s Cycling Club, Football Team, and Athletics Club. Alex Reichman is an incredible example of how recovery from addiction is possible. Alex managed to change his life despite having landed up in the South African prison system because of his addiction. Alex was able to pursue recovery, repair the connections with his family, have a meaningful relationship and friendships, and live a life beyond what he thought was possible. Read his story here. Charl K, who was brutalised by his drug addiction for 20 years, managed to find recovery from addiction, and is a dedicated member of The Recovery Foundation’s Cycling Club. Read Charl’s story here.
By donating to The Recovery Foundation, you can help us help more people get the treatment they need, and also assist us in achieving our vision for the future. The Recovery Foundation are looking for donations in the form of money, food and clothing. Another means through which you can help is by connecting with recovering addicts and those affected by addiction. You can offer support by joining the Pretoria-based Cycling Club, Athletics Club, or Football Team that meets weekly to get active and social.
The Recovery Foundation believes that humans can do whatever they want, they just don’t know that they can. But when they do, miracles happen!