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THE POWER OF DREAMS-The path to dream building (Part 1)

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

I reached the centre for my “Card making workshop with kids” and the centre was closed. The keeper forgot to open the centre and he was unreachable. I stood outside with the five young girls and informed them that we shall wait thirty minutes and if the keeper does not revert back we shall re schedule the workshop for next week. Indeed, it was the blessing in our situation as i said to myself why not get SALTy with them. I asked them what made them proud. They said they  did not know. I asked them to reflect a few minutes and one of them answered, “I am proud of my style. I know how to dress up” and the answers flowed,

“I am proud that i am beautiful”

“I am proud to have been the top of my section in Mathematics”. I asked them if they had any dreams. They said they did not know. They were surprised by the question and i realised how the whole question was an ordeal for them. I asked them about their dream job and the answers flowed, “I want to be a policewoman”, one wanted to become a cook, two others wanted to become air hostesses and the one who was proud to have topped her section in mathematics wanted to become a mathematics teacher.

I looked at them closely, the youngest being twelve and the eldest being  fifteen years of age and all wearing revealing clothes, hair in a bun and nails unkept. Throughout the conversation they did not leave their phones. How do i get their attention? How do i get these young girls who have all the latest smartphones with 24/7 unlimited access to the internet? The later for sure being more interesting than our conversation as it was their portal to some other world, more funny, more enticing…

My lecturer told me yesterday in class “ In community service you are the student, the community you work with is your teacher” What am i learning from them? What are they showing me? 

And i popped the question, “What about nail polish? What is your favourite color? “

They instantly looked at me. I added, “How about leaving aside your phone a while and show me your nails. I have a bunch of nail polish at home” I saw that the two who wanted to be air hostesses were into nail biting. I told them, “How about stopping gnawing at your nails?  You know to be air hostesses you have to be well groomed. This is something that will give you credit during your interview” and instantly someone said “To be a policeman you need to know how to swim” and the girl who wanted to be a policewoman reacted and said that she has to learn how to swim.

I asked them if they wanted to pursue this conversation next week after our card making session as i will be bringing some nail polish so as they can manicure their hands. They were thrilled about the idea.

Furthermore, I proposed to drop them home as they were all neighbours to each other. As i drove i asked, “Who want to drive and have your own car?” They were unanimous, all of them wanted to learn driving and own a car. And i asked, “Is that not a dream?”

Someone from the back seat replied, “Madame noune blié personne zamé demandé” meaning

“Madam we forgot because nobody ever ask”.

I realised that contrary to the under ten years  old children i have worked with the above ten years of age have already started forgetting about their dreams. They have to reflect more and their answers are not prompt and direct. They have settled in some lethargy and as if their minds have shifted from dream and hope mode to sleep mode. It takes to tap into their areas of interest which are boys, fashion, music whatever is trending on the web or in the society and then bring their attention into the now and build on that slowly but surely.


To be continued…

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Comment by Yumilah Govinden on November 29, 2016 at 8:37am

Dear Célicia, 

Thank you for reading My Story. What a boost to my motivation and a fruitful comment. It was a pleasure reading your comment because at one point i was doubting whether this approach i thought of adopting could work or not. Indeed, i agree with you and reflected same way as you did. And today itself i did the second part and the response was very much positive. This world is in constant evolution and we have to think of new ways so as to reach the community we seek to accompany and the best way is to learn from them:-) 

Reading you now i'm determined to continue the work. Many thanks to you!

Comment by Célicia Theys on November 28, 2016 at 6:15am

Dear Yumilah,
Thank you so much for sharing your story :) ! I loved your sentence at the end: "It takes tapping into their areas of interest which are boys, fashion, music whatever is trending on the web or in society and then bringing their attention into the now and building on that slowly but surely."
I've been working with a group of youth for over a year now, have been through similar frustrations as the ones I perceive in your article (dreams were about buying a Ferrari and concerns about enticing this boy or seducing that girl- while at the same time there were such huge challenges they were facing in their families and as a community), and also come to the same conclusion as you: we have to start from exactly where they are, with no judgement, and build a relationship with them as we appreciate their strengths and potential. Only then can we gradually begin to accompany them as they open their hearts and minds to discuss things that really matter to them and to society as a whole. Today I am so happy to share that these same youngsters are taking an active role in reweaving the social fabric of their city :) !
Wink also to Jean-Noel Chineegadoo of LPDT with whom I remember having a conversation on this topic- "can teenagers of today actually dream of anything that benefits something greater than their individualistic bubble?" From my own experience Jean-Noel, I can now happily say "Yes!" :)

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