Bushmen, the oldest humans on Earth, are dying from addictions. Historical trauma, including being removed from their ancestral lands to lands with no water, being prevented from living in the ways of their ancestors, liquor stores opening in the center of their communities which often sell liquor for less than water, have all contributed to the problem. There are no treatment options. Without intervention, we stand to lose Bushmen forever, including their traditional knowledge of the earth and stars.
WISN’s founder, Dr. Apela Colorado, did her doctoral dissertation on indigenous addictions, and served on the board of Nechi, one of the first and most successful culture-based addictions treatment programs in the world.
Partnering with indigenous led, culture-based treatment programs from North America, WISN aims to bring a Mobile Addictions Treatment (MAT) program to the Kalahari. During 2014-2016, WISN brought a Bushman delegation to Canada to meet with addictions counselors, brought addictions counselors to the Kalahari to meet with Bushmen to learn of their needs, and launched Phase I of the Mobile Addictions Treatment program. Phase I included a 30-day Community Addictions program, training sober Bushmen who will serve as a support network to Bushmen who are in treatment and post treatment to help keep them sober.
Sixteen participants completed the program, after which they organized their own internal, grass-roots group that they have named “Heroes of Tomorrow.” Heroes of Tomorrow have already moved into action and are lobbying against the opening of a second liquor store in the community.
WISN is too small to do this alone. The organization needs help in raising funds and awareness. Long-term goals include training Bushmen to lead culture-based addictions treatment for their communities and ultimately, WISN aims to bring this model to other indigenous communities in other parts of Africa and the world
WISN has set up two fundraising sites through Global Giving
, has created three PSA messages, and continue to fundraise.
Bushmen are ready to reclaim their health, power, and identity.