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Johanson Learns From Tough Past

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Johanson Learns From Tough Past From Right: Nilsan Johanson. Photo: Yogesh Chandra

Growing up in an environ­ment stricken with poverty and crime has taught Nilsan Johanson so many things and a change of heart.

The 19-year-old from Topline Lau­toka said he had quite a tough teen­age phase as poverty and criminal activities were both on the rise.

Lack of funds and peer pressure in such cases led to unwanted behav­iour.

But Mr Johanson believes that youths must change their mindset and start with the journey of do­ing well for the community and for themselves.

“Once you are in the youth group, your minds will start to change.”

For Josateki Labalaba, president and founder of PYGMIES (Provid­ing Young Generation Movement in Every Society) Youth Group, it all started in a prison.

“When I was in prison, I saw my younger brothers from the turf com­ing in also and that’s when I thought it cannot be like this,” he stated.

“I met a few of my brothers and told them that we have to stand up for this young generation because his elder brother never told him that.”

That’s when PYGMIES Youth Group was born. Currently, the Gov­ernment has provided assistance for the construction of a multi-purpose court that would create new employ­ment opportunities for the youths.

Mr Johanson is really looking forward to the development of the group and is hopes that more youths are led to the right path.

Other projects of the group have included visiting the homeless, the sick and those in correction facili­ties.

According to Mr Labalaba, the high crime rate in the Top Line area in Lautoka seemed to have declined.

“Our area was always known for its Red Zone but criminal activi­ties have declined from the time we formed this youth group,” he added.

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