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Rising above stage fright - Rachim's story

When the Zoom link connects, a cheerful young person appears on screen and 17-year-old Rachim starts chatting confidently. Three years ago, Rachim would probably have avoided eye contact, remained silent, stammered or even turned off the camera. He is the first to admit that the driving factor behind this change was the EYW soft skills training at his school. 

Abdul Rachim – Rachim to his friends – lives in Kendari, the capital of South Sulawesi. He explains: “I wasn’t confident in myself, especially when speaking in public. I got stage fright every time I spoke in front of the class, and broke out in a cold sweat.” But today, he is considered to be one of the best at giving presentations and expressing opinions – so much so, that his teacher recently asked him to represent the school in a competition in Kendari.  

Rachim participated in the EYW soft skills trainings for over a year. Around 1,500 students attended the course on Saturdays and Sundays, covering a different topic each week, such as time management, emotional intelligence, social skills, leadership, and verbal and non-verbal communication.  

Rachim’s improved self-esteem and communication skills have led to various other opportunities, including taking part in several field survey projects. When school moved online in April 2020 due to Covid-19, he became a private tutor for elementary school children. He has also completed an apprenticeship program at an engineering company. Thanks to this real-life work experience, Rachim feels ready for the next stage of his life. 

A bright future 

Rachim dreams of working as a field surveyor. However, to do this, he must continue with higher education – which means leaving home. Even though he has never left his hometown, Rachim is confident and excited about living independently. 

Now, the only remaining challenge he faces comes from his parents. “They worry about how I will live alone in a faraway place,” he explains – concerns most parents can relate to. But Rachim has a plan. He is going to use logic and reason, as he learned at the trainings, to persuade his parents that he is ready to look after himself. With his new skills and self-confidence, it seems very likely that this determined young man has a bright future ahead.