Reforming through love, care

Reforming through love, care

Reforming through love, care
TELOCA, an acronym for “TEnder LOving CAre”, is an appropriate name for an addiction recovery centre located at Mukkacherry in Ullal, just on the seashore.

In this simple place supported by a few generous people, a number of women are cured of the scourge of alcohol addiction, as well as substance abuse. Their lives, and in turn, the lives of their dear ones who depend on them are put back on track and are given fresh start.

Clara D’Cunha is the trustee who runs TELOCA. She is also involved in running a similar centre for men near Kulshekar in Mangaluru. Here at Ullal, she is assisted by a full-time nurse and an attendant, several professionals who volunteer, and students who come in from time to time to offer their skills and labour for this cause.

For a cause

Between 1998 and 2010, Clara worked mainly as a project coordinator in the Link De-addiction and Counselling Centre, supported by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. She has been a resource person and teacher for many conferences on ‘Alcoholism among Women’, as also a member of peer bodies on addiction activities. Much of her activity has focused on socio-psychological problems faced by married women alcoholics; the causes and conditions responsible and so on. She has worked with several institutions offering social services at various levels. And one of her biggest endeavours was when she decided to open TELOCA.

The Bethany congregation, an indigenous order of nuns in Mangaluru made this home available to Clara and her team in 2011, which was then registered as a trust. TELOCA took off in 2012 and in the last four years that have followed, many women have been benefited from the care and concern of this institution, which has also saved several families. At least 147 women from various places across India have been successfully treated till date. During their stay, patients are given individual and group sessions, individual counselling, family counselling, exposure to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and necessary guidance.

At any given point in time, about eight to 10 residents are treated with a holistic system designed by Clara and her team, after much research and inputs from experts. The residents take recourse in this place after specialist persuasion and design. Unlike high-end city rehabilitation centres, the care here is free of any  charges for those who cannot afford.

The process of caring

Family of the inmates contribute according to their means, and no one is turned away. Addiction in advanced stages is generally more prevalent among the underprivileged. Clara says one to three months of intensive attention, therapy for the mind, along with healthy food is needed for the mind to recover.

Patients here are anywhere between 18 and 65 years of age and are generally illiterate. Sometimes even graduates and professionals come here for treatment. They are usually brought in to the care centre by family members, social workers, civil society organisations, churches, convents, well wishers, doctors, hospitals, members of Alcoholics Anonymous, and sometimes even the police.

In a typical case, a 45-year-old lady, mother of two teenage children from Davangere, and her husband were addicted to alcohol for more than 15 years. They were brought in for treatment in 2014 by a well-wisher of the family. Now the couple are successfully leading an alcohol-free life in peace and prosperity.

Another lady from Belthangady, who has successfully finished her treatment, has stayed on to help and motivate others who arrive, said: “I have no real family and everyone else has distanced me due to my alcoholic problem for many years. But people have started to accept me now and are getting back in touch. I am grateful to the people at the rehabilitation centre, particularly Clara amma for helping me and saving me from destruction. Now, it’s time for me to give back to the society.”

To know more about TELOCA, contact Clara at claradcunha@gmail.com.
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