On the 5th of August 2022, Africa Unite in collaboration with the MARs movement (with MARs standing for Migrants, Asylum Seekers and Refugees) held a Self-confidence Workshop at the Birtha House in Mowbray. One of our interns, Kaylee Nezwek, led the workshop as a means of fostering conversation regarding mental health and wellness, as well as leading a movement with confidence and leadership. A total of 21 members from the MARs movement attended, as well as 5 Africa Unite staff and interns.
The workshop began with an interactive discussion about defining mental health as more than a state of mind, but rather a state of holistic well-being. Self-confidence was also defined in a broad context, with members sharing what confidence meant for not only themselves but also as a group and movement. They were asked to evaluated where they stand on a scale from 1-4, and also asked to note whether their confidence has improved at all since being a part of MARs. Kaylee facilitated an “I Am” activity, in which participants were challenged to intentionally notice the positive in themselves and in those around them. The activity brought the members together, as they noted that many of them shared positive attributes, or noticed attributes about themselves from others that they had never noticed before.
Then, participants learned about different types of confidence and what those look like in a practical sense, and they also learned and spoke about ways to build self-confidence. One of these ways that was especially highlighted was self-talk. Members participated in another activity focused on transforming negative self-talk, in which they were asked to develop charts with one column representing situations or thoughts that trigger negative self-talk, one column representing the negative self-talk they find themselves using, and the last column representing a positive statement that replaces the negative one. This activity encouraged participants to learn to recognize what triggers negativity and how to reframe these thoughts positively; it also allowed members to bond over shared experiences and trauma. Members opened up about personal harmful experience, and together, they motivated and encouraged each other in a beautiful way.
The workshop concluded with a discussion regarding leadership skills. Kaylee facilitated discussions about giving constructive criticism, performance anxiety techniques, and motivating and empowering others. To conclude, the members were asked to write a letter to themselves about where they currently are, regarding confidence and leadership skills, and where they hope to be at the end of the school year. The letters will be given back to them then so that they can personally assess whether they accomplished their goals, or whether they need to continue working on them. In all, the workshop was definitely a step in the right direction toward leading a movement with confidence and self-belief. In a post-workshop survey, members stated that they will use their knowledge and leadership skills to endorse empathy, recognize efforts and not only outcomes, empower team members, maintain effective feedback, promote optimism, and turn challenges into opportunities.