MY JOURNEY AT THE VILLAGE OF HOPE BY JULLIET OFORI-AMOAH
Julliet Ofori-Amoah (The Managing Director of Hope Training Institute)
In February 2013, soon after my national service, I was employed as an Accounts Officer at Hope Christian Academy, a subsidiary of Village of Hope in Gomoa-Fetteh. Then, in September 2015, I was transferred to Hope Training Institute, another subsidiary of Village of Hope in Accra to continue my work as an Accounts Officer.
After over five years of performing that role, I was promoted to the role of the Managing Director of Hope Training Institute in January 2021. This new role has given me the privilege of empowering street-connected, orphaned, vulnerable, destitute and needy teenagers. This unique working experience has been both challenging and rewarding, providing me with valuable insight into the lives of vulnerable youth and the transformative power of compassion and support. I have learned and I am still learning valuable lessons from the responsibilities placed on me and the challenges I have faced while managing a team that is dedicated to helping teenagers find hope and a bright future. Here are a few:
Understanding the Context
As a manager, the first step was to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by vulnerable youth. I familiarized myself with their stories, listened to their experiences, and acknowledged the complex web of social, economic and personal factors that led them to their vulnerable state. This understanding has helped me empathize with their struggles and reinforce the importance of providing them with a supportive and non-judgmental environment.
Building a Supportive Team
Managing a team of individuals who work directly with these vulnerable teenagers requires careful consideration. I focus on creating a cohesive and supportive team that shares a common vision of making a positive impact in the lives of these youth. I encourage open communication, a non-hierarchical structure and foster a culture of mutual respect and collaboration. I believe having a supportive team has gone a long way in providing the best support to the teenagers.
Tailoring Individualized Support
Each teenager has a unique set of needs and circumstances that require a personalized approach. I work closely with my team to develop individualized support plans for each teenager, considering factors such as vocational skills training, psychological, emotional and physical well-being, spiritual wellbeing and life skills development. By tailoring our interventions, we aim to empower these young ones to overcome their challenges and successfully reintegrate into society. This experience has taught me flexibility in managing complex situations.
Working with vulnerable teenagers comes with its share of challenges. Many of them have experienced trauma, have lost hope in love, have faced multi ple barriers to stability and therefore lack trust in adults. I have encountered instances of resistance, setbacks and moments of frustration. However, these challenges have reinforced my commitment to their wellbeing. I have learned the importance of patience, empathy and perseverance. By celebrating even the smallest victories and maintaining a long-term perspective, I have seen first-hand the transformative power of consistent support and genuine care.
Witnessing Growth and Success
The most rewarding aspect of my role as a manager has been witnessing the growth and success of these vulnerable teenagers. Seeing them regain their self-confidence, build healthy relationshi ps and pursue their God-given talents and skills fills me with immense joy. These success stories are testaments to the resilience of the human spirit and the potential for positive change. These experiences instilled in me a deep sense of purpose and the belief that love and hope conquer all.
My journey with the Hope Training Institute and the Village of Hope has been profoundly transformative. It has taught me the importance of understanding individual circumstances, building a supportive team and tailoring interventions to meet the unique needs of vulnerable youth. By overcoming challenges, witnessing growth and celebrating success, I have learned the true power of compassion, empathy and unwavering dedication. This experience has shaped not only my professional journey but also my perspective on the transformative potential within every individual.
Some rewarding moments with trainees and staff of Hope Training Institute