This is my teenage reality - Summer 2020
Being a teenager can be tough for anyone. Navigating relationships with your family and friends, knuckling down at school and trying to work out what you want to do when you 'grow up'. Imagine how much more difficult all this is when people write you off because you live in a 'slum' neighbourhood, you have a chaotic home life and you are just finishing a two-year sentence in juvenile detention. When we met 17-year-old Dario, he was in exactly this situation.
“You get out and you try to get a job but no one will give you one. You have nothing to do, nowhere to live and nothing to eat. So then what? You might really want to change your life, but then you have to face the reality of your situation. And this is my reality - I don’t have any family and I was stigmatised because everyone knew I’d been in a specialist facility and so, yeah, I found myself reoffending. I wanted to do the right thing and leave that life behind; it was so frustrating that I didn’t have the opportunity. I think it’d be so great if they could help you prepare for when you leave and then check up on how you’re getting on.”
We have listened to Dario and other young people in his position. This year, we started running a project that provides practical and emotional support to children while they are in detention facilities as well as guidance and access to services after they leave.
Help young people like Dario get what they never had. A chance.