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Life Education for Ethiopian Youths

Written by: Edward Lai (Senior Communications Officer)

What kind of person would you like to be?

When discussing dreams with youths, despite where they live, they somehow think of being a doctor, pilot, lawyer, teacher or entrepreneur. Dreams may fade in a blink, but it may also be planted in hearts, awaiting to sprout. CEDAR’s Ethiopian partner [1] entered local poor communities, determined on discussing dreams, meanings and values of life with youths.

Ethiopian youths are not different from other kids. They also face problems of identity during their growth: Who am I? Who do I belong to? Why did I come to this world? These questions point to the root: What is my outlook on life?

Our Ethiopian partner adopted Aflatoun International’s education method to help youths discover themselves through games and performance, for instance, exploring their talent and strength, practising problem solving skills. Our partner integrated Christian belief into their teaching to help youths realise that they are beloved children of God. Self-understanding and identity exploration were particularly meaningful to marginalised youths living in poverty.

After that, they were made aware of their rights and responsibilities, which meant appreciating and protecting their own and others’ rights, learning to take up responsibilities that come with their entitled rights. To address the common problem of insufficient care and sexual violence encountered by impoverished Ethiopian youths, our partner encouraged them to stand up and guard their own rights by creating posters with slogans to convey messages of child protection to adults in the community and schools. Furthermore, youths received Aflatoun education tend to pay more attention on community needs, for example, one of the youths discovered tap leakage in the community and asked to repair it, and another youth expressed carefully using their stationery and books for passing to children in need in the community later. This value education enabled children to understand their own role and present themselves as members of the community was essential to their development in the future.

Our partner understood that it would be difficult for impoverished youths to pursue their dreams if they did not overcome their poverty. We encouraged them to record their savings weekly and write up a financial plan for their goals. The youngsters not only formed a saving habit, but also learnt to run a business at a young age. This is the core objective of Aflatoun education: prevent cross-generation poverty by strengthening children’s ability in financial management.

We asked the youths again: what kind of person would you like to be? We heard various answers, yet they added: to become a person who could contribute to others.

[1] Our partner’s full name is Ethiopian Guenet Church Development and Welfare Organization.

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