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Learning beyond our borders-the journey continues…

March 09, 2017

It has been an inspiring and enriching three days of training at the Ofri Training Center. 

Our journey this week exposed us primarily to presentations of models on educational methodologies for youth at risk and professional visits to institutions working with youth at risk. These collaborative practices afforded the group the opportunity to learn about exceptional methodologies employed by the Ministry of Education; Ministry of Labor and Welfare, share contextual experiences (success stories) as well as experience models for dealing with youth at risk in practice at “Ben Shemen Youth Village”, “Susan’s House” and “Ort Beit Haarava”. This was critical for the group to connect how theory translates to actual practice.

The visit to “Ben Shemen Youth Village”, a boarding school in the outskirts of Jerusalem, broadened our conceptualization of boarding school in the Israeli context. It got us reflecting on how a boarding school could function beyond being just an academic institution but to being an institution that also promotes a culture of pluralism, scholarship and work. Grounded on empowering the youth with life skills that will make them develop into self-sufficient and productive individuals of the society. 

One cannot also overemphasize the tremendous work done at Susan’s House which provides employment for youth at risk and Ort Beit Haarava a professional High School in leveling the plain field for all youth at risk. These institutions demonstrated how commitment, passion and altering one’s approach was critical pushing their agenda and upholding their core mandate, that is providing second chances to all marginalized youth and also instilling in them a sense of hope. Although their methods rehabilitation differ slightly one cannot overlook the fact that they are all aimed at restoring a positive self-image for all youths that enroll in their programs. It has been possible for these institutions to achieve their goals, through rehabilitating and tapping into their raw talent (exposing them to entrepreneurial and vocational programs).  Similarly, it was also a refreshing to have sharing sessions on how members of the group dealt with youth at risk in their own contexts. What stood out from all these inspiring stories was the fact that the challenges were relatable to our individual contexts (African, Asian and European continent) and the interventions that were adopted and implemented were a clear demonstration of thinking out of the box.

Submitted by:

Siphiwe Nkosi (Swaziland)

Nana Vashakidze (Georgia)

Surendra Amgai (Nepal)