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Discovering Self-Esteem As A Tool For Personal Development
May 22, 2009

Discovering Self-Esteem As A Tool For Personal Development
(Credit: UNHCR)
At the end of April, the JRS Refugee Community Center (RCC) organized a three-day workshop on self-esteem for 22 language and computer students and four teachers. The workshop aimed at renewing hope and showing new directions for the lives of refugees by drawing attention to the principles of self-esteem like sense of competence, the importance of taking control of one’s life, tolerance, self-acceptance, positive thinking and self-motivation.

The organizers were motivated by their firm belief that self-esteem serves as a basic tool for the development of the human person and that building their self-esteem helps refugees in their search for the meaning of life. Before the workshop took place, lessons on the same topic were offered as an extra-curricular activity for students at the RCC for a month, because teachers had realized that some of their students are suffering from a sense of incompetence, are in search of the meaning in life and have a low opinion of themselves and little self-esteem.

The facilitator of the workshop, himself a Rwandan refugee, helped the participants to respect and accept themselves. He taught them the importance of beginning their life from where they are, to develop a vision for their lives, to plan for the future, to take a deep look inside them and to learn to appreciate and value their lives.

Furthermore, he briefly explained the characteristics that go along with high, low, healthy and authentic self-esteem and introduced the participants to manifestations of self-esteem. The participants came to realize that most of the concepts covered were applicable in their daily lives, for instance to make choices or decisions, to accept constructive criticism, to forgive and accept oneself, to manage anger and to overcome dependency and not expect everything from others.

In his closing speech, Project Director Mr. Mulugeta W/Eyesus mentioned that highly performing people are people who have discovered their potential and who pursue their goals, irrespective of the situation they are in.

He also pointed out that the best way to learn more and to make the newly gained knowledge part of one’s life is to teach and help others.

Gelila Tesfaye, Education Coordinator, Refugee Community Centre, Addis Ababa, JRS Ethiopia

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Mr Christian Fuchs
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