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How Jaz 'a lad from Derby' found himself called to address the United Nations.

A prominent member of the Sikh community in Derby will this weekend fly to New York City to talk about alcohol and drug addiciton to members of the United Nations. Jas Rai said he feels “very honoured and privilaged” to have been invited to the three-day conference at the UN’s General Assembly on the World Drug Problem. He flies to New York on Sunday and register to speak on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. Mr Rai said he is finalising his speech, which will focus on what he calls a “drug epidemic” that is affecting his homeand in the Punjab of India. He said: “To say I am honoured to have been invited is an understatement to say the least. I am extremely proud and privilaged that I have received the invite and, as a recovering alcoholic myself, I never imagined seven years ago that my recovery would take me this far. I am a Derby lad who will be representing not just the city but the Sikh community as a whole, which is an absolute massive honour”.

Mr Rai, who works at Rolls-Royce. fronts his own TV show on addiciton, called Alcohol and Beyond on the SIkh Channel. His work has come to the attention of the Sikh Human Rights Group, a global organisation of volunteers and activists with “a mutual interest in the protectio and promotion of human rights and the peaceful resolution of conflicts”.

Through his work and connection with the group, Mr Rai has been invited to speak at the UN. He said: “I don’t know how many people I will be speaking in front of but it could be hundreds and it will provide me with an incredible platform to discuss the drugs epidemic that affects the Punjab, where I still ave family and the rest of the world as a whole. A high percentage of males in the Punjab have some form of addiction to eaither drugs or alcohol and the reasons for that are multi-fold and include poverty and social depravation. Having the opportunity to high light that and speak to such high powered people is one that is too great to miss and I cannot wait to fly out to the USA.”

By Martin Naylor
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