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Jun 18, 2019

Highlights from Programme Visit

BC life skills programme changes behavior from violence to conflict resolution, from substance abuse to healthy stress management, from alcohol as a livelihood to alternative options. Youth learn to provide feedback through social accountability scheme, girls and women are empowered and boys get skills to be positive agents for change

General Secretary Anne Babb and Finance Officer Katrin Schmidt had an opportunity to work with the BC Chad team. During the visit they updated skills at project cycle management (French) and good governance (French). Training focused on supporting BC Chad in meeting standards that enable involvement in development co-operation projects. Separation of powers, clear expenses policies and organizational functions were discussed. Board at BC Chad are closely connected with the project and meets regularly and reports transparently of BC Chad’s activities and finances. It was acknowledged that BC Chad wants to further develop its activities outside the Life Skills Programme too. It was discussed that further reflection is needed on communicating what is volunteering at BC Chad. What are the BC activities and what are Life Skills project activities. 

Life Skills programme is well rooted in N’Djamena schools. The need for drug and alcohol prevention activities is great and many skills that support good decision making are developed as a result of Life Skills activities. During the visit it become evident that unfortunately in Chad physical violence as tool for assertiveness is very common. Slapping and hitting children and other people is still a common practice. The IBC team talked about skills for positive assertive verbal communication and simple steps to taking responsibility of one’s behaviour. Topic is included in the LS sessions and this helps us to communicate to girls and boys that they have right for non-violent childhood and that the skills they learn now change their own families when they are parents and this changes the society to be a more peaceful place when people learn peaceful ways to solve conflicts. 

Another success in Chad is the social accountability scheme that uses feedback boxes at schools to welcome the voice of students. This has led to many positive improvements like keeping school grounds clean. Youth are more committed to support the change when they have raised the issue themselves- they also have solutions to the problems they raise. One headmaster said they “had never before thought of asking for solutions from the youth but it works! “ BC Chad wishes to spread feedback boxes to all Life Skills schools.  

You can follow the project and BC Chad on: https://www.facebook.com/croixbleuetchadienne/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

Your donation makes change possible! Thank you!

Jun 18, 2019

The Taboo Topic - Testimony of a young woman who grew up in a home with alcohol abuse

I am 16 years old. I am a happy girl who is fine. I have had a normal schooling. 10 years at the same school and good grades. I've always had a lot of good friends. I work fine in social contexts, and generally I feel no different than everyone else.

The only thing people don't know about me is that my mother is an alcoholic.

It's a taboo topic for me. 

It's not something you can see or notice on me. It's something deep in me. I do not want to describe it as an open wound, but a scar on the soul or a stone in my backpack, and I find it hard to understand why they are there and why they have to be part of me. But they are. Because she's my mother. Just like your mother is yours.

I do not blame my mother for having done as she did. It was necessary for her. She just tried to forget about the pain of the many stones in her backpack instead of throwing them out.

Nor does it make her a bad mother. It's just cross-border for me as a daughter to talk about, because it quickly becomes a part of me, even though I don't want it to be. It should not be part of me and I am not born with alcohol in the blood, nor do I have a strange relationship with alcohol, even though it is expected of me because my mother is an alcohol abuser.

But it is a taboo topic for me.

But should I say this to people, tell my mother's story, which defined me?

I do not even know why people should know, and they may not need to know who I am either. For I am not my mother and her actions.

However, I feel that this is something we should talk about if we want and need it. I have been going for many years and been mad at my mother because she is the way she is. I didn't talk to anyone about it, and I didn't think it was different for other families. No one talked to me. It was even a taboo in my own family. That's just the way it was.

I refuse to believe that all families work perfectly, all the time. But why don't we talk about it?

I have learned to open up and I am not ashamed of my family because it is as it is. On the contrary.

But how do we break a taboo by not talking about it?

How can we repair something we do not know is broken?

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In every school class in Denmark there are two children growing up in homes with alcohol abuse. Help to support children and teenagers! Let's break the taboo and act "together" so that children are not alone in their challenging situations.

Jun 18, 2019

5-Steps Method: Cohesion among Families

Many methods of dealing with alcohol abuse focus solely on the addict. The 5-step method is filling a gap that exists for family support that does not see family members solely as supporters for their loved one but as people needing support for themselves in their own right. The Sininauhaliitto, Blue Ribbon (Blue Cross in Finland) uses this method to overcome addictions holistically in families across all generations. Especially for adults whose elderly parents show addictive behaviour it can help.

The 5-step method consists of 

1. listening non-judgmentally

2. providing relevant information 

3. exploring ways of coping

4. discussing social support

5. exploring further needs

Especially at step 4 the work of Blue Cross helps. For example, addicts and relatives can find support in self-help groups. By sharing the same experiences and feeling seen and understood, people's burdens fall off their shoulders. Hearing another story that is similar to one's own helps for the healing process. 

Two different family clubs met for a joint club night in Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä Street and Sepän Kipinä. Among other things, the topic was the dry outbreak. Dry outbreak means that the close / family members return to the previous negative oppositions and thinking habits. This is especially true for families where the problem of drug abuse has led to difficult family relationships. There may have been wounds that are not easy to heal between family members. Therefore, it helps to talk about such issues together and to promote cohesion among families.

Your donation helps for the implementation of further activities and holds young and old together. Thank you! 

 
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