For South African teens, there’s nothing new about needing to dig deep to stay motivated and focused at school, which is why Infinite Family has always emphasized helping them build resilience. Yet, in the 17 years since our program began, they’ve never needed to dig deeper … and we’ve never been more proud of them!
In their video conversations (VCs), our Net Buddies have likely added the word ‘loadshedding’ to their Video Mentors’ vocabulary. This is the term used to describe the rolling power cuts – up to 12 hours a day – that have become a part of their daily life. Their ability to cope with all the extra challenges it poses is impressive and, in future issues of KIT, they’ll be telling you all about their life ‘hacks’. (They’re busy preparing videos they want to share with you, so we won’t give any spoiler alerts here!)
However, we can say, it’s been a life lesson for us to watch kids (who are already overloaded with the kind of toxic stress that would sink most adults) find the mental strength to push through. Among the reasons for it?
Their Video Mentors!
It has always been our guiding belief that having a stable, committed relationship with a supportive adult is key to helping children to overcome adversity and learn to manage stress. And it is why Video Mentors are central to the Infinite Family program, as this beautiful message from Jagi in India illustrates:
I am very excited to share with you the journey of Nthabi. More than a year ago she came as a Net Buddy to me. She was very depressed, lives in a shelter and seems to have no family. I worked with her for quite a while, giving her hope and guiding her to be positive.
Yesterday she turned a corner and is doing well at school in her 12th Grade. She is getting good grades and will start training in September to be an air hostess. She is a very smart girl and I am willing to help her achieve this if she needs any financial assistance. I felt so happy yesterday. She was full of life and cheerful.
Giving young people an opportunity to share their life experiences in a safe space and engage in conversations, like these, influences them to move beyond their natural feelings of helplessness and work through solutions for themselves. The Video Mentors’ commitment to weekly VCs with their Net Buddies has always been a gift, but in these dark and difficult times, it’s more appreciated than ever!