Over the years, Lawrence House, a Child and Youth Care Centre (CYCC), has been doing a great job of taking care of their young people who are foreign nationals. Inspired by them, we decided that our youth development programme would start a journey of looking more intensely into the experiences that young foreign nationals have in children’s homes in this country.
We acknowledge the complexities of working with foreign nationals goes beyond youth development programmes and Child and Youth Care Centers. We thus hosted our second It’s not just Stock Cube dialogue with the intention to continue to try to understand and dig deeper into their stories. We want to create meaningful connections with them and create a wider community of support for them. We are curious about their journeys into South Africa, the process of obtaining their identity documents, their language, and the stock cubes their mothers cook with.
We were pleased that a beautiful mix of people was in attendance; 17 young foreign nationals, six local young people, and old and new faces from our programme. We also had some family members, friends, a social worker and a Child and Youth Care worker in attendance.
The dialogue was facilitated to include participation by the attendance; we shared stories in small groups, pairs and a large circle. It’s no surprise that a lot of the stories shared were about food. We also spoke a lot about the importance of relationships or connection with others when navigating some of the challenges we face. Knowing there is someone that can be trusted or knowing someone got your back helps one to stay positive and not give up. Zabibu, a young person in our programme said, “I know that I can’t do much and have to wait for my identity documents so I have to concentrate on other things like surfing, sailing, looking for work and making connections with others while I am waiting”.
We are working towards having these dialogues on a regular basis to continue making visible the experiences of young foreign nationals in this country.