FYM Youth & FYM Kids

FYM Youth and Simone Bonfrer

FYM Youth

  • Age: 15 - 30 years.

Most of the youth in Sierra Leone have not yet dealt with the traumas they have been through in the war. These memories are having an impact on the life they are living now. In Sierra Leone people do not or barely talk about what has happened in the past and there is no professional help for this particular problem at all. There is definitely a demand by the youth for this kind of help, like proved in a research done by Sanne Haanraads and Simone Bonfrer in the year 2009 – 2010. When people do not have the chance to talk about their traumas this can become a problem in their future.

Since the start in 2009 we have seen that not only youth with a war related experience benefit from the Free Your Mind programme, but also youth who have been through other kind of negative experiences. Like, violence by parents, living without their family, poverty, gambling, drugs, unemployment, etc. For them there is also no place to talk about these experiences. We rearranged the programme so they can also be part of Free Your Mind.

In 2011 we started working in the community Kroo Bay where we allowed to use a building that was used as a school aswell as a club. There we started with several youths. They liked the programme, but every time it was a problem to get them together. They were not very time conscious and quickly distracted. In September 2011 FYM got his own centre. This made things a lot easier. The youth from different communities is now coming to the FYM centre on specific times. The centre is open for everybody who seriously wants to be part of Free Your Mind.


FYM Kids

  • Age: 8 - 14 years

FYM KidsFree Your Mind is also helping the younger children in this country. They do not have experienced the war themselves but they do suffer from the after effects. Like parents or family members with a post traumatic stress disorder, nightmares, stress, etc. It might not be as bad as the war itself, but it will influence the relationship between parent or family member and child. Also, some of these children do not have the opportunity to go to school. They are growing up in an environment in where there is a lot of violence, no toilet facilities and a lot of hard work. Mostly they do not even have the opportunity to be a kid because they need to help their parents to sustain the family. It can be a hard life for a child in Sierra Leone, a life wherein they usually do not learn that they have a voice of their own and that they also have rights.

We have developed a special programme for these children. In this programme we also deal with art, music and drama but we focus more on the present and future life. The main goal in this programme is that we learn the children to be bold, to let them gain experiences with speaking in public and to let them know that they also have a choice.

For now we are only working with the kids in the Kroo Bay community, but when possible we will extend this programme to other communities as well.

FYM Kids

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