By David Shaw
Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state, Myanmar's most northern region, doesn't have it easy. For years, this Southeast Asian nation bordering India, China, Laos, and Thailand has been plagued by civil war between the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the Burmese Military, as well as poverty and an international trade in opium and heroin. Due to poor employment opportunities and the low price of the drug, many in Kachin have become addicted to heroin, with an estimated one in every household regularly using the drug.
In response to this growing problem, "Pat Jasan"—a coalition of local Baptist, Catholic, and Protestant churches—launched a community-based organization with the goal to "eradicate all drugs from the Kachin population." Through a network of camps, Pat Jasan forces drug users through a faith-based rehabilitation program. Its "clients" spend three to six months partaking in daily exercise, prayer, and educational activities in an attempt to replace their drug addiction with religion. The organization is fully funded by donations from local churches and is manned by volunteers.
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