The trauma of unplanned or forced departure of asylum-seekers from their homeland and the reality of being in a completely unfamiliar environment affects women, girls, boys and men in both similar and different ways. Some children suffer loss of family members and some have to endure separation from their parents or an adult guardian they can depend on. These children lack a reliable point of reference for guidance on how to respond to various life’s challenges they are faced with as they grow up and this can lead to confusion and despair.
However, as the refugee program took the youth club, 9 boys and 5 girls, from Malindza Refugee Reception Center through a life skills training, confusion and despair were wiped away with a positive outlook on life and hopefulness amongst these youths. The week long training which was held at the catholic center in Manzini afforded the participants a forum of empowerment on subjects such as: human development; HIV/AIDS; reproductive health; self-esteem; decision making; communication and gender based violence.
Some of the teenagers were excited to learn that puberty was just a stage of their development as one boy, Nathan Nschimirima, originally from Burundi was quoted saying, “I was confused and did not know who to talk to about the changes I was experiencing, I was having a challenge adjusting, and now I know I am undergoing puberty and it only means I am transitioning to adulthood”.
Most of the teenagers, at the end of the training had made up their minds on what they wanted to do with the knowledge they acquired. Edith Tuyubahe a 15 year old girl said the sessions on self-esteem impacted on her and she will be helping girls her age develop their self -esteem so that they attain their goals in life. Franscisco Nsabimana, a boy from Rwanda said “I will no longer do things haphazardly, passively or unknowingly, now I will follow the decision making process I learnt here to make good and informed decisions about my life and will teach my peers the same.”