Ms. Nakawunde an aunt to 17 year old Bridget Kisakye, singlehandedly took on looking after her, including educating her. Ms. Nakawunde says she sees daily the importance of prioritizing emotional wellness or intelligence to teenagers. During this pandemic and lockdown she has involved her niece, Bridget in one of the community projects and put a support system for her during the days that they are all at home. This has helped Bridget’s mental health and wellbeing and helped both of them to overcome some of the challenges posed by COVID-19.
COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges everyone is facing namely the fear, strain of uncertainty and lack of a regular source of income for many families in their neighborhood in Gayaza more than ever. Talking to Bridget, she feels the daily activity of growing tomatoes on a 25 decimal plot of land has given her some activity to look towards to. It is now two months since she planted them with her aunt and because it is a dry season she has to walk half a kilometer to the garden and daily carry over 10 jericans of water from the neighbourhood to the garden and water the tomatoes to ensure they are not scorched in the hot sun. She has also periodically sprayed them to avoid pests and diseases harming the tomatoes. When asked about the lessons she has got from growing tomatoes Bridget says she is happy and looking forward to them maturing, selling them and earning some income. She adds the skills she has gained include hard work, resilience, determination and efficiency.
- WHEN YOU MAKE SPACE FOR TEENS TO SELF- ADVOCATE FOR THEIR PERSONAL NEEDS, YOU CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE THEY FEEL SAFE AND CONFIDENT TO USE THEIR VOICES & ARTICULATE THEIR DESIRES.
- ENCOURAGE YOUR TEENS TO FOCUS ON THE THINGS THEY CAN CONTROL EVEN WHEN LIFE IS UNPREDICTABLE.
- INTEGRATING ROUTINES & KEEPING THEM BUSY WILL PROVIDE CONSISTENCY TO HELP KEEP TEENS MENTAL HEALTH IN CHECK AND HELP ALLEVIATE STRESS.