Youth First Academy in Ait Ourir
Ait Ourir is a small city that faces many challenges. One of the most pressing issues that block this town’s way is the lack of opportunities, which is something that most of Ait Ourir’s residents complain about. But for the young people of my city, this matter is more crucial. Mostly because the majority of them are just starting their careers and need to make a living for themselves and their families.
For the beginning of my life, I have faced the same issue. But at the age of 18 years old, I was fortunate enough to move to Ait Ourir and have had the opportunity to join the AFCD foundation. Finding out about this fascinating non-profit organization and its programs especially at a young age and in a small city that I would say barely gives a fair access to education was certainly a rare opportunity that totally changed my life for the better, and gave me the space where I can grow and bloom as young woman.
What about the other youth?
My community still struggles every day with the lack of equal opportunities that are free from segregation and where youth have access to information and skills. It is an obstacle course that sets up tens of thousands of young people for failure, mostly young women. And we all know that a significant number of young people out of work can harm a community’s economic growth and development. Youth unemployment, if left unchecked, can have serious social consequences because unemployed youth tend to feel excluded, anxious, and lacking hope for the future.
Through my volunteering experience with the AFCD foundation, I was chosen as one of the facilitators of the Youth First Academy. Which is one of the many chances that the AFCD has allowed me to have. In partnership with Rebild Youth School, and funded by the Danish Youth Council (DUF), Youth First Academy aims at bringing the youth of five rural sites in the region of El Haouz together, allowing them to have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enhance their capabilities through training, counseling, and assistance to achieve their goals and gain professional experience.
Personally, what I find most interesting about the Youth First Academy is not just that is a space where young people of of the region of Al Haouz can develop their skills and learn about many others, but it’s the fact that this initiative utilizes their creativity to change the most pressing issues in their local communities. My team and I work hard to provide these young people with the resources they need to not only develop themselves but also their surroundings. Through a series of workshops tailored to each team’s needs assessment, we assist them in developing projects to serve their communities. I believe that the community projects that will come from the brilliant minds of the young people that I have been working with for the past 4 months will change the situation in our region. Furthermore, “Youth First Academy” is a sustainable project that gives young people the opportunity to lift themselves and their communities. Whether you are a facilitator, a participant, or you have had a hand in any way in the process of implementing the Youth First Academy, I am sure that it will have touched you in inconceivable ways.
What have we gained from this project so far?
In the past 4 months, we have shared a lot of laughs and a lot of tears. I have managed to learn more about conflict resolution, time management, resilience, and leadership than I have ever learned. We had our highs and lows, but seeing the groups evolve and watching myself grow in this community of eager young people has made me truly believe that the Youth First Academy is the change that our community so desperately needs.