Front Leader: Awan Kuol Awan and South Sudanese Youth in Australia

Posted: January 25, 2018 by PaanLuel Wël in Columnists, Commentary, Contributing Writers, Deng Kur Deng, Junub Sudan, Opinion Articles, Opinion Writers

By Deng Kur Deng, Pennsylvania, USA

Marial Wel

Marial Wel who shot dead his wife in front of the kids in the USA, January 2018

January 25, 2018 (SSB) — First, before I go any farther, I would like to acknowledge and appreciate Awan Kuol Awan and those who have invested so much of their time to ensure our youth are protected, irrespective of what they have done. Your openness to involvement is crucial, even when there are complexities associated with the issues around the concerns of our youth. Believe me, I am aware of the difficulties involved in dealing with youth in the western world, which is known to be tough because there are limits per the law and resources.

However, any strategy that is deemed to foster good citizens and self-value is essential. Among those who have shown leadership and devoted their time is Mr. Awan. Mr. Awan spearheaded how to deal with youth—especially their emotions and their differences that were triggered in their homes.

The language presented by Mr. Awan’s words resonates with an average person; therefore, it is needed by the youth on the streets. It appeals not only to them but to those who are willing to share their time to help. Mr. Awan’s method can work if it is turned into a mentoring program, to purposely reach youth and give them a reason to reorganize their lives. This allows them to deliberately build self-awareness and self-reflection in the process while enjoying privileges granted to them by the Australian government. This could also create room to thrive through the influence of adults and peers who are well informed about others who are experiencing difficulties in the community.

It seemed many attempts were made, and leaders may have been discouraged from helping because the youth have not fulfilled their expectations. Unfortunately, as a leader, you may need to recalibrate your expectations to achieve the desired results. You are aware that stereotypes come with the failure of any leader to follow through on less conscious and disputed strategies to understand the difficulties of youth. Most importantly, Mr. Awan is playing a very significant role in advocating for youth and this is far more indicative of a true leader.

This is a serious embodiment and I thank him for his leadership. He is someone who is promoting a conducive atmosphere for change and acceptance. The youth are more likely to find themselves building self-consciousness when they are not being judged or having anyone using condescending words or actions towards them. This task can take a toll on a person. However, if it remains unfilled, other communities will continue blaming your community. Something must be done about it, in particular, joining Mr. Awan.

Sadly, being impatient can come with disappointment. So is being a cynic. Admittedly, the best ways to approach these youths can be energy sucking. Even so, you must realize this is humanity at its best, once supportive traits are positively applied. Yes, there are predicaments that come with responsibility, but a number of you are motivated and intentionally willing to reach out towards those who need your help. Avoiding strategies that are intended to address issues wouldn’t help the youth. Consequently, there are leaders among you who are well educated, very constructive, thoughtful, receptive, concerned, and willing to help. You don’t have to be an elected leader to intervene in the case of our youth, but you must be well-informed about their concerns in the community.

One good thing I realized from Awan’s position is that he doesn’t judge them. This is an amazing starting point. You must be motivated to do your part, even though I can imagine it is a little tedious to try to tackle the problem with no funding in place. However, it is still the responsibility of leaders to review the concerns that are affecting their communities, specifically youth, to project better intervention. As you may know, the success of a young man or woman is a mutual benefit to a community. This success will eventually be reciprocated, but what tends to overshadow commitment of real leaders are issues ingrained into a community—things that are hard to tackle.

I wouldn’t want to see our communities in Australia fail the youth; however, interpersonal issues and broken communication at home are linked to reasons our youth are on the streets. It is unfortunate that you have caught the attention of the Australian news due to the magnitude of the problem and the behaviors displayed by a number of youth. It has become increasingly frustrating when a community is lumped together for the behaviors of a few. I can honestly see the reasons why Australians are worried. Their lives are being endangered and property is oftentimes damaged by young people. Unfortunately, what the news hasn’t recognized is that being a member of a gang is not in our culture. Our youth learned to be gang members through assimilation.

So much comes with assimilation. There are bad things associated with assimilation, but there are also good things in school, in the community, and in places of work. Being a gang isn’t one of them. Take a minute to reflect on this as you look back at what gangs have brought to your community. To give you a hypothetical example, imagine you spent years and years saving money for a car and a house for your family. Within a blink of an eye, a young man or woman decides to besiege the house and the car leaving you overwhelmed with bills you can’t afford to pay.

How would you feel if this were a house or car your parents or you worked hard to get, but it was destroyed instantly? Maybe you know how depressing these kinds of situations are in any family. The family is usually left to repair the damages to their homes and cars—something they weren’t prepared to do. These are the very people who felt sympathy for your suffering; therefore, their taxes were used to give you a second chance in life—something you are supposed to appreciate. You are supposed to be thankful and try to be a more productive member of Australia society.

Many of you are doing exceptionally well or are trying your best. I am happy for you. When you were resettled, there were certain behaviors that were expected of anyone—including youth. There is violence in the family, alcohol, truancy, early pregnancy, and many other issues in any community, and there are obviously unexpected problems—usually gang related. The unforeseen consequences in our South Sudanese community is now overshadowing those of you who have achieved so much, including education. Our young people’s activities in Australia prompted some to volunteer to help them and you should, too. Join hands with Mr. Awan to help our youth.

This article was written by Deng Kur Deng AKA Raanmangar. You can reach him at: pananyangajak@gmail.com

The opinion expressed here is solely the view of the writer. The veracity of any claim made is the responsibility of the author, not PaanLuel Wël: South Sudanese Bloggers (SSB) website. If you want to submit an opinion article, commentary or news analysis, please email it to paanluel2011@gmail.com. PaanLuel Wël website (SSB) do reserve the right to edit or reject material before publication. Please include your full name, a short biography, email address, city and the country you are writing from.

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