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Kabul restaurant helps drug addicts kick the habit

Tuesday, Oct 09, 2012 - 01:44

Oct. 9 - An Afghan woman who runs a shelter for drug addicts opens a restaurant, recruiting former users in the hope of helping them rebuild their lives. Sarah Charlton reports.

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In an ultra-conservative society, one brave Afghan woman is tackling the stigma of drug addiction. Laila Haidari has opened a restaurant in Kabul, and recruits staff from her shelters for recovering addicts. By giving former drug users work, Haidari hopes they will begin to rebuild their lives. It's a revolutionary idea in Afghanistan, and cost Haidari more than the thousands she spent setting it up. SOUNDBITE: OWNER AND FOUNDER OF THE TAJ BEGUM RESTAURANT, LAILA HAIDARI, SAYING (Dari): "In the past year I have lost many things in my life including my family. My husband divorced me because he disagreed with me opening such a restaurant and living with drug addicts." Seventeen former addicts are now employed at the restaurant. Abdul Ali spent a decade as an opium addict before finding help at Haidari's shelters. He now entertains restaurant guests, as well those still trying to kick the habit. SOUNDBITE: FORMER DRUG ADDICT, ABDUL ALI SAYING (Dari): "By playing the dambura I just want to keep my friends busy in order make them stop using drugs and to enjoy life." Haidari says she wanted to help people like Ali after caring for her opium-addicted brother. She says hundreds of addicts, including women and children, have passed through her shelters.

Kabul restaurant helps drug addicts kick the habit

Tuesday, Oct 09, 2012 - 01:44

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