Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Inculcating life skills in teenagers

The Family Strengthening Programme (FSP) in Eldoret conducted a 5-day life skills workshop from 30th November to 5th December for approximately 150 beneficiaries. The seminar, that targeted children between the ages of 13-19 years, also included children from SOS Children’s Village Eldoret. The main objective of the workshop was to inculcate important life skills in children such as decision making, while at the same time enhance confidence, self esteem, cooperation, empathy, trust, and faith among pupils.

According to Getrude, a social worker at the FSP, it is necessary to start imparting life skills at an early age so that these young children grow into mature, healthy, and responsible members of the society. “It can be said that life skills education assists in the development of psychosocial skills that are required to deal with the demands and challenges of the everyday life”, she adds. She attributes life skills as an empowering subject to pupils especially at this time when some of the children are living in a child headed household due to HIV related deaths, while some children have no adults to guide them in decision making of their lives.

She mentioned that with life skills education, children with problems are free to share with their peers or to seek help from teachers, community or local leaders. “Children will be more open and able to disclose their challenges in order to get assistance rather than stress themselves with unresolved life problems and make wrong decisions that affect their future,” she explained.
Additionally, she compares life skills to the shield that will protect children from temptations that may hinder their future development and empower them with necessary skills that will enable them to make informed decisions in every step they take in their lives.
Besides giving the children an opportunity to get to know each other, learn and have fun, they were taught about HIV prevention, children’s rights, sexuality, and many other matters parents normally talk with their children about.

It was interesting to hear some of the responses from some of the participants:

“I have been able to learn how to make decisions that are not harmful to me," said Josephine, 14, from SOS Children’s Village Eldoret. "Although our realities are very different, I feel that together we can do things better", she added.

Dorothy, 15, also from SOS Children’s Village Eldoret said, “This workshop has really helped me to know the consequences of not abstaining from pre-marital sex. I will share what I have learnt with my peers.

“The workshop has helped me to understand how the choices I make in life can affect me and inspired me to remain focused in my life ambitions”, said Abdui, 14, from Border Farm primary school.

By Fredrick Ochieng Youth Care Co-worker