Maintaining mental health, resilience in the face of hardship

Home Youth Corner Maintaining mental health, resilience in the face of hardship
Maintaining mental health, resilience in the face of hardship

Namibian Broadcasting Corporation news anchor and TV producer John Ikondja recently shared his recipe for success and motivation to pull through this journey called life.

“Growing up in Five Rand Camp in Okahandja, life wasn’t easy. I didn’t have the luxuries many take for granted, but I was blessed with a strong sense of purpose, and the drive to make a difference,” he told Youth Corner.

Ikondja is passionate about using his platform to help others realise their dreams and navigate their futures with confidence, and recently was able to share his words of wisdom through the Physically Active Youth (PAY) group’s first mentoring session. PAY is a dynamic after-school centre in Katutura, dedicated to providing a safe and nurturing environment for teens and youth from disadvantaged communities.

“These young individuals are resilient, curious and full of potential. They remind me of my journey, and the importance of having guidance and support. I believe that by sharing these experiences, we can inspire others to contribute to the empowerment and upliftment of our youth, helping them realise their full potential,” he stated.

He indicated: “During our time together, I focused on career guidance, emphasising the significance of pursuing careers that align with their talents and passions. We discussed the importance of discipline, the core values that can shape their futures, and the challenges one might face in the professional world.”

The media professional shared his experiences, including the hurdles he overcame while learning to navigate the reality of working with people and the professional environment.

He added: “I aim to inspire these young minds, to show them that despite their circumstances, they have the power to achieve greatness. I want them to know that their dreams are valid and attainable with hard work, dedication and the right mindset.”

Looking ahead, Ikondja told Youth Corner he is committed to continuing this mentoring journey, not only in Windhoek, but hopefully across Namibia. 

“I believe that by reaching out to more communities, we can create a ripple-effect of empowerment and upliftment. It is my dream to see every young person in Namibia have access to the guidance and support they need to succeed,” he stated.

PAY Life Skills Coach for seniors Mathews Kambuze told Youth Corner the approach to this initiative is through life skill, and tapping into young Namibians’ ability to be mentally resilient.

“What we have come across in our communities is many young Namibians who are single parents, teenage pregnancies, young boys who are into gangs, and others who have neglected their school. I can tell you the importance of abstaining or how to use contraceptives, or the dangers of joining gangs. But there isn’t much on mental resilience and that’s what we are doing here,” he indicated.

Kambuze added: “All of those mentoring means nothing if the person receiving the information is not in the right mindset.So, here we look at the common mental patterns, and try to address that.”

He referenced one of the group members, whose family members’ highest qualification is a Grade 12.

“He is super-smart and can go far. We have worked with him, and he is busy with AS level. He is focused and in the right mindset, and wish him all the best with his academics. One can see he wants change, and we are here to support him wholeheartedly. He is doing all the work, we are just here to support, and that’s what mental transformation entails,” Kambuze said with excitement.

He added that the mentoring sessions will be happening the last Friday of every month, and because school is about to close, they will continue once classes resume.