NAIROBI , 23 March, 2021 / 6:45 PM (ACI Africa).-
The war against sexual immorality, abortion, and other youth challenges has a spiritual dimension, a Kenyan Pro-Life advocate has said, noting that powerful multinational companies that promote the vices “are desperate” to lead young people astray.
Catherine Njore, the founder of Linda Vijana Initiative (LVI), an organization that addresses youth challenges told ACI Africa that she has been fought by “powerful individuals” for running campaigns that seek to promote the sanctity of life and to restore sexual purity among the youth.
“This is a spiritual warfare and we face very strong opposing forces. I have been abused several times for speaking the truth about the need to maintain sexual purity among the youth,” Ms. Njore said in the Tuesday, March 23 interview.
She said that some companies that seek to promote abortion go to extreme lengths to promote the practice, including investing in expensive campaigns.
Ms. Njore describes her work at LVI as “a silent warfare” saying, “We are winning souls silently, on our knees. We know that Satan has his hour but the rest of the day belongs to God. We pray, then talk to the young people one by one and we are seeing a change in attitude. With prayers and hard work, we shall win this war.”
The youth organization that is based at Waunini House of the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) in Nairobi was formed last year at the height of COVID-19 pandemic that saw a spike in teen pregnancies, drug use, and violence among young people who were away from school.
“So many youth challenges surfaced during the COVID-19 lockdown. Young people were exposed to a lot of information on the Internet, some that was destructive and many homes experienced tough parenting issues,” Ms. Njore said.
She added, “Suddenly, parents became slaves to their teenage children, giving in to the demands of their children. There was no order and we saw a rise in teenage pregnancies because the children were doing whatever they wanted. Some were not listening to their parents anymore.”
According to the LVI founder, the organization was started “to bring sanity back into society.”
Ms. Njore who mentors youth at Mary Mother of God Mweiga Catholic Parish of Kenya’s Archdiocese of Nyeri notes that current parenting has become a challenge, underscoring the need for collective responsibility in raising children as a society.
“When I was growing up, a child belonged to the whole society. We could be punished by a stranger who found us doing something wrong. Today, the situation is different. No one wants their children to be corrected by someone else. Parents don’t even want teachers to punish their children in school,” she says.
The Pro-lifer says that it does not help that a section of parents is trying to bring up their children well in isolation.
“It doesn’t help when you raise your child well when the rest of the society is rotting. Your children get out there and get influenced by society. We ought to do this as a society,” Ms. Njore says.
Some of the activities at LVI include mentorship talks in schools, activities to help youth to manage their time well as well as talks with parents and caregivers to empower them to become good caregivers.
Ms. Njore who works as a technologist at a Kenyan university has been involved in other education and mentorship activities through her Think Words organization that aims to boost the reading culture among school going children in Kenya.
Some of the university students she mentors are invited to talks in primary and high schools where they share their experiences with the young ones.
Officials and members of the organization are also invited to give talks to groups of youths, parents and caregivers.
With the limited nature of physical interactions during COVID-19, most of the talks at LVI are conducted virtually on select topics where the youth are allowed to ask questions and are responded to by experts.
The organization is run by a team of experts including medical doctors, Religious leaders, counsellors and youth larders who are versed with issues affecting young people and are armed with religious and scientific knowledge to address the issues.
“I knew that I had to bring medical experts on board to give out medical facts on some of the issues we address,” Ms. Njore told ACI Africa March 23.
She explained, “When pro-choice people say that there are no serious side effects of using contraceptives, the medical doctors in our team come in to explain how the pills that people take leave them with permanent damage.”
The LVI founder says that involving young people in activities during their free time has helped them avoid engaging in immoral activities.
“There are organizations that give teenage boys condoms to protect themselves. When we kept these boys occupied in other activities, they brought to me packets of condoms which they never used,” she says.
Some of the most impactful social media campaigns executed by a team of LVI include the #SexZii (no to sex), #KusubiriNiSwag (waiting is cool), #DecentIsTheNewBlack, among others.
The Pro-lifer says that #KusubiriNiSwag was specifically aimed to raise awareness about maintaining sexual purity among teenagers who are continually victimized for being virgins.
Ms. Njore says that the biggest challenge that young people are facing is living a lie on social media where, she says, the youth feel accepted.
“The society has neglected the youth. They feel judged and so the only place they feel accepted is on social media where they are living a total lie,” she says.
“Young people are living in a virtual world which is all fake,” the youth counsellor told ACI Africa.
She added in reference to young people, “They seek validation in all wrong places and become disappointed when they post a picture and get only ten likes out of thousands of friends they have on Facebook.”
“Young people need to understand that all the likes they get on their posts online and the perceived fame that comes with it is all fake and they need to come back to reality,” she further said.
In her experience from interacting with young people at the Kenyan Parish, the LVI founder says that the youth lack role models and people to show them right from wrong.
“I have told young people in the Church to imagine a Calvary experience whenever they come to Holy Mass and therefore to dress appropriately. They responded by wearing decent clothing and covering their bodies well the following Sunday,” she recounts, adding, “The youth do what they do because they lack someone to tell them otherwise. We are simply not talking to them.”
Ms. Njore says that young people are increasingly avoiding Holy Mass and the Holy Communion for fear of going to confession frequently and repeating sexual sins.
“If we wish our youth to actively participate in the Church, we must encourage them to avoid fornication and not to tell them about using protection during sex. If they continually engage in immorality, they feel unworthy to go to Church and to receive Holy communion. They shy away from repenting about the same sin over and over again,” she says.
She encourages parents to inculcate a culture of prayer in their children from an early age.
“It is important to bring children to God as tender, innocent beings and they will grow up immersed in a life of payer. Let’s pray with them, go to Church with them. Let’s not take them out on social events on Saturday and allow them to rest on Sunday when they are supposed to be in Church,” Ms. Njore says.
The Kenyan mother of four adds, “We have to live a morally upright life and it all starts at home in the family unit.”
SOURCE ACI Africa. Published with permission.
PHOTO CREDIT: Linda Vijana Initiative
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