Youth is a defining period for a human being, a time for fundamental decisions. It is the time a purposeful and triumphant future can be cultivated or the opportunity can be missed. It is also a period of inculcating values and principles of life and helping the youth to acquire and invest in a well-rounded life as well as life-giving attitudes and behaviour.
Yet today young people face enormous challenges such as unemployment, discrimination, growth of all kinds of violence, degradation of environment, diminished access to education, hunger, forced marriages, etc. These challenges make for them difficult to find a road where they can build supportive personal as well as family relations based on solid moral, spiritual, financial, and emotional foundations.
AJAN and its field centres across Africa, are utilizing the celebration of Ignatian Year (500 years of the conversion of Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits) to support and carry out more youth-centred activities. No one should be left behind! “The culture of encounter says Pope Francis is a call inviting us to dare to keep alive a shared dream. Yes, a great dream, a dream that has a place for everyone” (Pope Francis, WYD, Panama2019). Not only are these activities meant to benefit them, but more importantly they are designed to be youth-led giving them more tools and support they need to take healthy decisions for a fruitful life. Young people have so many potentials and possibilities particularly in this digital age which unite them as never before. We want to walk with them, discern possibilities and find God’s will in the depth of their reality. “Accompanying the young people, listening to them puts us on the path of conversion”. It requires a new way of living as family and communities, a way that is more coherent, open, and importantly more evangelical. (https://www.jesuits.global/uap/journeying-with-youth/)
I am consoled, encouraged and proud of the work some field centres and partners are carrying out with the modest budget availed. I encourage all of us to do our best to create an atmosphere and enable the youth to be more open to conversion. That is being courageous enough to face their world with a critical mind, act reasonably and wisely. In that way together with them we will create a hope-filled future.
Let me also take this opportunity to welcome you to our redesigned website: www.ajan.africa. it is now easier for you to give your support or your donation from any part of the world and to be part of our history by supporting a specific cause that AJAN is undertaking is service to the most vulnerable and needy. The needs remain dire. Our gratitude to those who have sent their donation. Your support has changed someone’s life. God’s blessings upon you!
Fr Matambura Ismael, Director of AJAN.