|Training for school dropout girls started from 1 August to 28 August 2022 in Tombura, Our Lady of Christians, with 50 school dropouts in Western Dynary, 56 in Ave Maria Catholic Mission Western Equatoria State (WES), 55 in Regina Mundi Parish Catholic Church Ezo WES and 56 in St. Augustine, Catholic Parish Central Dynary WES, for a total of 217 girls. These are girls who, like the majority of the population in South Sudan, face war every day due to tribal conflicts, internal displacement, difficulties due to poverty, hunger and lack of adequate infrastructure. All this generates feelings of anger and frustration, fear and difficulty in thinking of life as love and opportunity.
The seminar covered various topics through discussions, focus groups and experiential activities.
Starting with the relationship of women with their children, from when they were in the womb to the early stages of life. A sense of resentment also emerged towards the children and their ‘inappropriate’ behaviour. It was important to trace these behaviours back to a request for affection and attention, to the expression of growth and discovery. Offering a different point of view helped the girls to relate in a healthier and more constructive way with their children, turning what seemed like moments of conflict into opportunities to listen and love.
Much of the seminar then focused on self-awareness, self-confidence and recovering self-esteem. Offering tools to read situations and personal stories through the lens of self-love and recognition of the suffering experienced, overcoming shame, doubt, judgments and fear. Finally, conflict management as a central theme: knowing how to recognise it, understand its causes and be able to deal with it constructively. Avoiding it but not shunning it, as an opportunity for growth and knowledge of oneself and of the other. Because conflict also leads to clarification of important problems and issues, it provides solutions to problems, involves people in resolving issues important to them, provokes authentic communication, helps to release emotions, anxiety and stress, builds cooperation between people by learning to know each other better.
Despite the girls coming from different and very distant parishes (up to 20-30 miles on foot), participation was very high and they were all cooperative and eager to learn; they agreed to use whatever facilities were offered to them and to eat what was prepared. The girls exclaimed that they will not go back to where they came from! What they learned will help them to take care of themselves, their children and their education. Many have also written a letter to the Bishop and to Solidarity asking for help to return to school: they have become aware of some bad choices and are now expressing their desire to be able to have new opportunities in life, starting with a proper education.
Thanks to Sister Scholastica Nganda (RSM) for the report on this training
09 Nov 2022
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