Zouhair is one of our participants from Bhar Lazreg, a marginalized neighborhood on the outskirts of the luxurious region of Gammarth north of Tunis. During his teens, he didn’t give much importance to pursuing his high school education spending most of his time in the cafés of his neighborhood.
Zouhair was never approached, prior to his experience with Jasmine Foundation, by any organization or government institution, nor did he get the chance to discuss his problems and the daily challenges he faces as a young man. Jasmine Foundation invited him amongst many others from his neighborhood to listen to their opinions, asîrations and common problems in a relaxed and friendly environment that we call “café jeunesse”.
Zouhair attended the “café jeunesse” we organized in La-Marsa, and in the end of the session he opened up with a shaky voice and tears in his eyes. He explained how overwhelmed he was by his experience during the “café jeunesse” and how interesting and inspiring the whole idea was for him.
Zouhair said: “No one has ever cared to talk to me about these issues (related to public affairs, politics, human rights) or asked me about the quality of the local services in my neighborhood. All I hear about was stories of theft, drugs or the latest tricks to get out of this country”.
Throughout the remaining activities in the project, Zouhair has shown a unique determination to continue his participation in program. He was excited but shy to participate in the training cycles about local governance and decentralization, “thinking that such a topic would be challenging for me and that the training atmosphere will not be tolerant for my type of personality“. Little did he know that he would be “amazed by the youthful and tolerant atmosphere and the friendliness of the youth coach and the rest of the project team“. He participated fully and consciously in the activities of the training and went even further by organizing a small theatrical play with his friends Saber and Moncef to explain participatory budgeting in an amusing way.
In his third day of training, Zouhair approached the trainer Mr Draief and revealed that he wants to go back to school to resume his education and peruse his academic journey, and expressed regrets not having pursued his education until his graduation.
Now, the trainer and the team are trying to help him out get back to school and plan with Zouhair a brighter future than he was aiming for.