This month Unite engaged trainers from the Arusha-based NGO JobOrtunity to run a two-week-long customized life skills and personal development workshop at the St. Joseph's Orphans Center for seven of our secondary students and 10 of our university students who were home for holiday. The workshop included six modules taught mostly through experiential learning or "learning by doing." This was the first time any of these students have received any formal training of any kind, outside of the classroom. While many were a bit shy at first, eventually they stepped out of their comfort zones to seize this rare and unique opportunity to learn and grow. We are proud of them and will continue our work with JobOrtunity to provide them further trainings as possible over the months and years to come.
The workshop focused on teaching our students about how to take responsibility for their decision making and problem solving abilities; seize opportunities; deal with peer pressure and keep themselves safe; think positively and see challenges as opportunities; and how to identify and understand their own strengths and weakness (to work on) for personal growth and development.
One example: "Victim of Circumstance." The lesson began by having the students define: What is a victim? What is a circumstance? What is a victim of circumstance? Following their discussion, they were shown a short movie about a woman with no arms who was able to take care of her baby boy. The students then broke into small groups to discuss what they observed and came back with the following:
1. Accept the fact that life is not easy. You must cope with every situation you are faced with. It is what it is, and you must focus, concentrate and cope with it.
2. Believe in yourself. Have confidence and a good attitude. Take responsibility by actively looking for solutions. Be flexible and creative with challenges.
3. Do not judge a book by its cover. Always help others.
4. Work hard. Try new things -- trial and error. Never give up.