ACET Belarus reached 4,108 parents last year through workshops and talk shows, addressing concerns around sex, relationships, drugs, alcohol and lifestyle choices. The team also work with vulnerable young people, impacted by serious family issues. Here’s one story from an educator who met with a group of 16–18 year old boys, identified as having suicidal tendencies.
“When I arrived, one of the staff warned me: even psychologists don’t stay long in this college. When I entered the hall, I saw 16 pairs of unfriendly eyes. For the first 15 minutes, I felt like I was on the front line. The boys said they didn’t believe in kindness, compassion, humanity, honesty, love, loyalty or the possibility of a happy life. They didn’t believe in anything and didn’t rely on anybody. I saw pain and despair in their eyes. It seemed like they had already lost faith in all that is good.
We talked about kindness, mercy, honesty and sincerity, about the fact that each and every one of them is unique, that they have lots of talents and, if they use them right, they can achieve a lot.
One said, “We don’t have a future, what do we live for, if there is nothing good to expect? My parents live like that, my friends live like that, so do I.”
We started talking about the meaning of life, about the possibility for each of them to break out of this cycle. Then one of the boys exclaimed, “This world needs people who know how to love and how to forgive.” Many boys started changing their opinion right there.
It isn't easy for them. Most have serious family problems. Their parents have degrading lifestyles. They love and hate their parents at the same time, hate them for lost opportunities and dreams. We talked about ways to recover and break free from this burden.
By the end, I could see different people in front of me. The light of hope began to glow in their eyes.”