Workshops, debates and group exercises help youth flourish

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A haven for vulnerable people, the Graff Leadership Centre is a place of learning, discovery and healing, where every visitor is made to feel welcome and offered support.

Bongane, a 26-year-old graduate of the FACET-funded Help Lesotho Youth Development Programme is just one example of how this atmosphere nurtures success and well being.

Once a heavy drinker, having succumbed to peer pressure in high school, Bongane would disappear for days at a time: “My father got angry and eventually became violent. He thought beating me would make me stop, but it made me angrier. When he realised it wasn’t working he turned on my mother. He blamed her for my drinking, saying she was a terrible mother and wife. I couldn’t take it. I left.”

Bongane entered a world of petty crime to fund his drinking habit, but knew something had to change when his friend suggested an armed robbery on a house. He moved in with his brother and signed up to the Youth Development Programme, but he wasn’t aware what he was getting into: “I thought it was a job. When I realised it wasn’t, I thought I’d just stay for the first day and never come back. In that day we heard inspiring talks about how we have potential to make changes and take control of our future.”

And Bongane also met past graduates of the programme: “You could see the transformation in their eyes. They were happy. I wanted to be like that, so I stayed.” So, three days a week, together with 55 other young men and women, Bongane would participate in workshops, debates and reflection exercises covering self-esteem, goal setting and communication skills among various topics.

Following the programme, Bongane was able to join a community work project for six weeks and now volunteers at the GLC library, hoping to fulfil his ambition to become a police officer.

Read more about our projects in Lesotho
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