Growing hope in Punjab: Journey of a drug addict

By: |
June 28, 2021 4:58 PM

Bharpur Singh is back from the brink and it hasn’t been an easy journey.

Bharpur Singh starts his mornings by doing inspections for a waste management initiative he is a part of.

He is finally leading a life befitting his name. Bharpur Singh is a busy man. At 40, he starts his mornings by doing inspections for a waste management initiative he is a part of. Tired from the day’s work, when he gets home, he knows he has a delicious home cooked meal and lots of conversations and laughter to look forward to. His parents, two children and wife anxiously wait for him to come home.

Nothing exceptional about that you’d say. Nothing except the fact that all of this was an unthinkable dream for him a few years back.

The same garbage dump where he proudly does his inspections is where he would be huddled up with his friends, doing drugs. He began at the age of 17. Bharpur Singh is back from the brink and it hasn’t been an easy journey.

“I was addicted to drugs at a very young age. I tried every possible drug out there – synthetic drugs, Phetanyl, smack, Charas, Ganja etc”, he shares. He was a part of a group of 12-13 friends who did drugs together. Over the years, he saw all of them pass away, one by one. And even though he was sure the same fate would follow him, he couldn’t help himself. But the habit had kicked in too deep and he fought a losing battle for seven years. “I was certain that I wouldn’t survive,” he says.

So what finally helped him do the turnaround? Two twinkly little eyes. When his daughter was born and he held her, something in him stirred. “I wanted to live with my family”, he says. But that day when he spent the shagan,’ (money received as gifts on her birth) on drugs, he knew he had to act right then. He swore to himself he would quit drugs and he did.

He enrolled in a graduate course in social work at IGNOU. On the side, he started researching government social security schemes and helped more than 4,500 of villagers (orphans, widows, senior citizens, etc.) avail of these schemes.

Soon he learnt that the RoundGlass foundation is undertaking a waste management programme in rural Punjab and intends to clean all the village dump yards and he thought to himself that this was a sign from God, and he must be a part of this initiative.

Of course the past hasn’t left him completely but he is better prepared at handling it. “Even today I see fear and doubt in the eyes of my wife every morning, but my hard work and efforts are my response to her niggling doubts. I can never think of betraying her trust again”, he says.

Today he is an important integral part of the waste management initiative at RoundGlass. He has helped set up 61 waste management systems. For the past two years, Bharpur has been working with the RoundGlass Foundation on their Plant for Punjab and Waste Management initiatives. He is a project coordinator for the Waste Management initiative and holds exhibitions to spread awareness among villagers about waste segregation and composting.

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Bharpur is proud of his journey of de-addiction and how he’s turned his life around. “I introduce myself as an ex-drug addict. My friends in the village ask me why I’m so open about my past. I tell them I have nothing to be ashamed of as I have redeemed my past through the good work I am doing for the RoundGlass Foundation.”

He also holds discussions to seek buy-in from village panchayats where RoundGlass is planning to launch waste management systems and manages the launch of such projects. The RoundGlass Foundation aims to launch 150+ such systems by the end of this year and eventually touch 12,700 villages across Punjab.

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