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Two special approaches with youth at risk

March 24, 2016

As a group, we would like to reflect on two specific projects that had the greatest impact on us, namely Retorno and SAHI.

is a drug rehabilitation facility in Beit Shemesh. The facility treats all addictions through a holistic approach combining a wide range of modalities for treating addiction, including group therapy, individual therapy, sponsoring, horseback riding, animal assisted therapy, empowerment workshops and more.

Through the Retorno experience we have learnt that using animals, children can be taught to care, to love and to give of themselves. The animals give the young persons a sense of purpose and responsibility since they get to realise that the animal’s welfare is in their hands. This is a powerful tool to change wayward behaviour in youth. We also learnt that as one listens to the story of another, they get the courage to confront their own issues that are deeply embedded and were along difficult to deal with. The experience evoked feelings of empathy, the shedding of tears alone as one shares their story is the beginning of a dual healing process, the one who is sharing their story feels they have a caring family of people who love and share in their pain. We realised that animals bring out our inner person and that they develop our maternal and paternal instincts.

We learnt that we do not need fancy structures to do what we can to help the youth, we can make a difference wherever we are,  and sometimes being there and listening to their stories is all that they need.

The SAHI program is designed for teenagers aged 13 -18 years. It improves youth through the values of giving and helping others. The project operates in cities, small towns, kibbutzim and residential children’s homes.

We learnt that youth have a need to feel welcomed and accepted regardless of their behaviour or state of character. We have learnt that even the youth that are considered behave badly, they too have something good to offer to the community if given the love they need in order for them to find meaning in being responsible.

Lindiwe Ngci Dube - Swaziland

Mollen  Magorokosho - Zimbabwe

Agnes Nawulema Katongole Ssebayigga - Uganda

Lusanda Gwayi - South Africa

Augustina Offeibea Osei - Ghana