In this program we have different activities such as Subject to Citizen (S2C) training to help understand the environment in Africa as youth. Personal development is about instilling self-confidence; to boost self-morale. We talk about stigma as well to prepare the rehabilitation process with society, understanding the challenges they might face. We help them to recognise and utilise their potential by training life skills as well.
Discussions also focused on background, generational cycles and peer pressure as other problems we face as youth especially in our environment. At the end of the session, it was realized and admitted that most of the incarcerated youth are in prison because of choices, peer influence and the environment they have lived before.
Youth appreciated how important it is to be aware of challenges and know how to address them in healthy ways. Understanding that the negative influence of friends and peers, people in our community and our environment can cost them. It can affect how young people feel, dress, and act. They also expressed noticing when others make good decisions and stand for a positive change, how it influences other youth to make better life.
However, it is not only youth in prison who are prone to negative decision making but also those in the communities because of the crisis within our African continent. Moreover, these youths are also affected with the same challenges and are likely to continue the cycles of engaging in behaviours and making decisions that can cost them freedom, good life choices and opportunities to better their lives. YMCAs purpose to make sure that young people’s mindsets are changed to add value as responsible citizens whether in prison or in community and to build the capacity to fight stigma because these challenges we all face and are affected by them.
In conclusion, engaging with these youths have given us a platform to know and understand them. YMCA has the passion and commitment to address the root cause issues to help young people to renew right-thinking and cultivate energy and potential in order to fight for positive change in our family, society, nation, and our African continent. Believing that we all count.
Source: Tahiry Daulin Tsiohara – Madagascar Youth Advocate for Change Participant 2017