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We are so impressed with the Youth Development Programme underway in Swaziland, we would like to talk further about its need in our own country. Our youth, too, has an exorbitantly high unemployment rate and there is desperate need to give them the same kind of empowerment. Starting their own business is certainly one way to overcome looking for a job. A tremendously exciting aspect of the Swaziland project is that when given the opportunities young people have stepped up – they just need guidance and mentorship. We have seen first-hand the businesses that are up and running in Swaziland and how they impact positively and stimulate communities.
“We’re helping to make their dreams come true,” comments Major Wright “Working with kids, we teach them to dream. Young adults don’t dream – life has become too hard for them. By giving hope these projects will overflow into other initiatives. It’s encouraging to see how young people really look after each other.”
There is much negativity associated with the youth of today but we need to remind ourselves of two truths. The first is that the future of our country is in their hands. Which makes it even more critical to create new avenues of self-sufficiency. The second is that, if you give children a glimpse of what they could become, you can most likely turn their lives around. The growing experience is a vital indicator of their view of themselves, and of what their future may hold.
A child’s positive experiences will help develop the capacity to become a valuable and reliable adult with compassion, and cope with life’s many challenges. Reaching out to young people, and helping them ‘grow up’ with a positive attitude is a vital facet of the work of The Salvation Army.
Following in the footsteps of Swaziland would create a new kind of society and solve one of our many problems, that of youth unemployment. Let us hope that imaginative business people will take heed and get similar projects underway here. While Swaziland’s footsteps might be small, they are having a giant impact.