Starting With Why
Why do so many of our students give up, or scream for help in the face of adversity without the slightest effort to reverse the situation? According to research, students or youths in general nowadays often give up too easily, they lack initiative, and they deal badly with failure or fear failure all the same and hence, use avoidance strategies.
Lack of independence and the need for constant handholding are recurrent amongst youths and is a problem that needs to be addressed. It would be sad for a child to grow into an adult who is unable to take a decision for himself, who falls back into his mother’s arms as soon as a problem pops up, who is unable to take an initiative in every domain and gives up easily, and yet, is an adult. This will affect not only the student’s personal life but their professional life as well. Imagine you, a parent, finally happy that your child is leaving the family house and is a full-grown independent adult but calls you for basically everything, from seeing a mouse in their house and panicking, to calling you because they’re too cold. Imagine you, an employer, having to do everything for yourself because your employees cannot take the initiative, or constantly having to listen to excuses and then apportioning blame on others. This might sound unlikely and far-fetched but this is what’s going to happen, giving rise to a dependent generation and unproductive generation. This is a problem that needs to be addressed and needs to be addressed now. This problem is the lack of resilience.
The Resilience Summer Exchange Program aims at building skills and carrying out activities/workshops that will help make students more resilient in their everyday life, by leaving their natural habitat to a new/unfamiliar place that will enhance their resilient skills.
Online resilience programs are good, workshops? Why not? But what other better way to become resilient that living in an environment that will have no other option than make you resilient? Your environment plays a key role.
To enhance resilience skills among students.
To make students learn adaptability and flexibility.
Develop students’ focus on what they can control, rather than what they can’t.
To promote mutual understanding between people of different cultures (cultural exchange) and different backgrounds.
To create long lasting relationships between student and host family. (Networking an essential element for success in the 21st century)
Where? Cameroon (Yaoundé and Douala).
How the project will be carried out
Application Process: Students will apply online for the summer program. The application package will comprise of a personal essay as to why they want to participate, what skills they hope to learn, what their interests are, their hobbies, expectations and what they hope to learn from and/or hopefully teach their host families. Other necessary documents will be demanded for those pre-selected such as parental consent, certificate of non-conviction etc. Families interested in hosting students (free of charge) will equally have to apply to host. Their application will include their reason for hosting, expectations, what they hope to teach host student etc. This will enable the selection committee to match host families to students (the best possible matches) with similar interests and goals.
PDO: After students are pre-selected (and finally selected) and host families chosen, all the necessary travel documentation will begin (visas, insurance etc.). A pre-departure orientation will be conducted, making them knowledgeable about their host environment, home sickness and how to deal with it, expectations versus reality, culture shock etc. A similar orientation will be conducted with host families.
Arrival and Beginning of Summer Program: Students arrive and settle at their host families and begin the resilience program.
Hiking: After straining at the top of a mountain or a hill somewhere, they will naturally ask themselves why they are doing this, but there will be some inner feeling of accomplishment. You feel that you can’t do another step, and if you do, you’ll die. But you keep doing it, one step after another and this helps in building resilience. When in the face of adversity in future, they will remember their hiking experience and know that if they could do that, then nothing is above them, and not just get off the wagon as before. In addition, the sight at the top will be worth it. Students will learn to push even when they feel they can’t, to know their pace and move with it and not give up, thus, a resilient mentality.
Farming: This will be in the typical manner in which it is done in Africa.
Camp fire and personal storytelling with the hope to inspire
Day-to-day activities like laundry, cooking etc. for those who have been used, all their life, to a washing machine. This is one of the areas where the host family plays a key role. Students will learn how to do things for themselves. The prospect of learning how to make African dishes, from Africans, in a typical African kitchen should be very appealing to international students. (cultural learning and exchange)
Volunteering in places like orphanages, community projects like road cleaning. Students will have a sense of fulfillment and joy that comes along with volunteering and will make them feel good about themselves, for creating impact and build the mentality that they can be great entrepreneurs and impact lives on a large scale.
Sports Activities: Students will have a variety of Sporting activities both within themselves as well as with external clubs for competition to face real challenges and defeats.
Social Club Activities. This will be a blend of an introduction in to typical African social clubs as well as Western/International social clubs. The package is huge and unending.
Students will participate in their host family’s lives and have a meeting point for each day that an activity will be carried out.
Weekends: Spend time with host family
Students will have a local coordinators (Opuvia Staff) to reach out to in case of any challenges and this local coordinators will equally accompany students to all their activities.