Sunday, July 29, 2012

Goa is sitting on a HIV time bomb: Fr. Pereira in THE TIMES OF INDIA -GOA

         Joseph Zurate / TNN : 26th July 2012. Goa

CALANGUTE: Goa's today the hot-spot for partying in India, because of which drinking alcohol-from cheap feni to expensive whiskys and wines - has become so ingrained in our culture that nobody realizes anymore that this is destructive, says Fr Joe Pereira, founder of the Kripa Foundation who is currently on a retreat in Goa.
This August 15, Kripa Foundation, which works with recovering addicts, will celebrate its 31st Founders Day and it's been over 25 years since they started a branch in Goa at Anjuna.
Pereira warns that because of this party culture, permissive sexual behaviour, specially among women, has also increased and Goa is sitting on a HIV time-bomb. "Unfortunately Goan society has a false sense of status. They're into denial that they have any problem. They're so scared of shame that they will never admit that they're alcoholics or drug addicts. They would like to think that only the poor sections of society suffer from alcoholism or drug addiction," Fr. Pereira says. "Earlier the flower children were our biggest inmates. They're our biggest supporters now," he informs.
A certified Iyengar yoga instructor, Fr. Pereira advocates what he calls 'secular meditation' to bring about body, mind, spirit unity. "Then your recovery process becomes much more authentic, because it bypasses your ego," he says, adding, "without the grace of God you cannot do anything."
He also strongly feels that liquor tycoons like Vijay Mallya should set aside a portion of their profits to fund organizations which help alcohol addicts to recover. "They're turning so many people into alcoholics. I'm not suggesting prohibition or anything. But I feel they should put a certain portion of their profits to lend a helping hand to those who wish to stop drinking," says Fr. Joe Pereira.