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24 Mar

Working in Communities

Added by : Alma Lawler

We, as members of the Backpackers Programme team, believe that all children, given a safe context in which to explore their developmental and societal challenges, can learn the life skills needed to journey responsibly and safely towards reaching their full potential in life.

Keeping this vision in mind, we recruit like-minded community organisations that we aim to equip through training workshops and mentoring, with a view to have them partner with us to implement the Backpackers Programme (life skills) in the communities they serve.

Less formalised groups go through a baseline assessment by completing a questionnaire that includes, among others, the following questions:

These questions are just a sample of questions that help us to assess what support and training the organisation would require from the Backpackers Programme team.

We kick-started the 2017 programme on the 25th January with a workshop for 38 participants from 15 organisations. Some of the organisations were not able to attend on that day but made a commitment to participate during the year, thus bringing the total to 25 organisations registered for 2017. It is exciting to know that young people from Port Elizabeth, Despatch, and Uitenhage will gain skills through the Backpackers Programme so they can make good and informed decisions when facing obstacles and difficulties in their lives.

Through the programme we aim to provide the young people with life skills to overcome challenges they face and to foster the following attributes and life skills:

Self Esteem; Confidence; Healthy Relationships; Communication Skills; Assertiveness; Decision-Making Skills; Resistance to Peer Pressure; Problem-Solving Strategies; Body Awareness; Personal Hygiene; Personal Safety; Future Career Prospects; Hope.

The words of Martin Luther King Jr capture something of what we hope to instil in young people:

‘If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving. You lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today, I still have a dream’ - Martin Luther King Jr

Despite all the challenges the youth face today (and we are deeply aware of these challenges), we trust that there is less reason for young people participating in the Backpackers Programme to lose hope!

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