After three years of my stay at Djalingo, I make an evaluation of the experience of “grace” that the Lord has given me especially at the female formation centre.

At the beginning, I was fearful to assume the responsibility only because I was not even capable to begin a conversation but I found myself in front of a young world, with the task of knowing them and to accompany many girls in their journey.

I was asked to coordinate the centre, the teachers, all the women and to take up the financial and administrative management. After three years of work, the centre is autonomous and self-sufficient and I can say that it is one of the best centres among the 7 centres of the Diocese.

In fact, the best work that is being done is to listen to the life of these young girls coming from different contexts and to accompany them as an elder sister. These teen-age girls with little education, fragile like all others but eager to discover the world with a great desire and dream to own a stitching machine in order to able to work and earn something for themselves and for their family someday. The family and the society, characterized by masculist and authoritative society, identify these young girls as persons who are only capable to cook and to give birth.

These girls were asking to come to our centre as a last possibility before marriage. But, unfortunately most of them did not finish their three-year course because their parents decided to give them in marriage. In my work I tried to transmit them the enthusiasm and the great desire to change. I used to tell them that, despite all that your family and society think of you, you are endowed with gifts and talents that, if discovered and properly used, will change your life and that of others.

We started a dialogue of trust and reciprocal listening. The girls began to dream and we were together able to renew the scholastic courses also inserting the study of the English language. It is a great challenge for the girls who were almost not even able to speak French. We started sport activities and to produce handiworks to present or to sell. At the beginning nobody believed in us; even the community was perplexed but after three years the outcome is good.

The girls were timid and with little self-esteem in themselves. At present, they are overjoyed of how much they have learned. For example Rosaline is already a small manager with great dreams. Now she wants above all to put up her tailoring shop in a small village. Now she is respected and valued, while before coming to our centre she did not even have money to pay her school fees.

The youth need someone who can stay beside them. They need mature persons who can accompany them in their journey of life. They are in need of adults who can encourage them to face and overcome their own worries and fears, in order to accomplish great things and to change the world. The youth have enthusiasm, great dreams and desires. To us, elder brothers and sisters, pertains the duty to support them so that they may not lose their hope and fulfil the great Dream of God: a humanity more human, where the other person is a brother and a sister to love.

Sr. Lucia Cavallo – Cameroon

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