Young People and Stepping Stones
Young people are the future of any community and it is a central part of Stepping Stones that they have the right for their views to be heard and respected by other community members. Sadly, in many parts of the world, young people are looked down on and their views and perspectives tend to be ignored or ridiculed. Participants in Stepping Stones workshops have often reported that relationships not just between males and females in communities, but also between youths and older people in communities have improved after a workshop. This suggests that once young people begin to feel listened to and respected that they, in turn, feel more ready to listen to and respect others’ views.
Issues facing young women and young men in a community are the focus of two of the clips in the original Stepping Stones film. This is to enable all participants to consider the perspectives of these two groups in their own community – their hopes and fears, their dreams and desires for their futures.
Often, if young people have not had access to much education, they feel that life has little to offer them. This can easily lead to a lack of self-worth or self-confidence. In the case of young men, this can lead to more risk-taking and less need to protect themselves from the consequences of their actions. For young women, they may become less able to stand up for themselves than they might have been.
The Stepping Stones workshops offer young men and young women, separately and together, a space to reassess their own qualities, abilities and potential and to formulate and start to act upon – with the help of their peers and their elders – their own dreams for their futures.
Below is a diagram created with young people by Barbara Kaim of Auntie Stella in Zimbabwe. This highlights some of the many challenges young women face.
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