Medicine, Mind and Adolescence 1999, XIV, 1-2


Daniela Nigri, Giovanni Cecchini1

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The P.H.C. is well adapted to poor rural areas in developing countries. Rapid urbanization has altered the traditional culture and has created a complex of social problems in Africa’s cities, however. These include an AIDS epidemic and the emergence of street children. Adolescents have abandoned traditions, home and education due extreme poverty. Street youth are maltreated by the police and are generally despised by the population. These youth identify with the criminal world, drugs, prostitution, suffering various abuses and violence. These often cause adverse, risky behaviours, the loss of personal value and the means to life.
Health education toward street youth rehabilitation must be active, focused not only on physical illnesses, but on risky behaviours as well. In the last thirty years of prevention attempts of risky behaviours, many type of modalities and intervention have been developed. Most of these have been ineffective, and paradoxically, may have exacerbated the problems that they attempted to solve.
A new model focused on individual problems and resources has emerged recently: health education based on the new Kairological, humanistic method. This new humanistic, existential method acknowledges the uniqueness of a country’s culture. The application of the Kairological method requires the training of health educators during a six-month course. The focus is on the anthropological and social situation of the country, on the adolescent’s identity development, on the most important methods of health education, and on the humanistic Kairological method to be employed with the street youth. The educators must be able to create a symbolic space for adolescents were they can experience personal resources and invest in their own reality. Young people live together for about two years, rediscovering the meaning of friendship through a disciplined life and a show of responsibility towards others. Through work they discover their own autonomy based on resources and individual skills.
Relevant themes are addressed initially by brainstorming. Each youth, employing free association of the first three words that are called to mind, reveal unconscious activation of resources and problems lived in the past. Using this subjective experience in group discussion, expert’s interpretations, and the cultural expression of unconscious themes, young people objectify their experience in their cultural contexts. Thus adolescents experience their own resources, regaining their own identity as an answer to the imperatives of love, truth and beauty.

Key Words:
Street Children, Project, Health Education.

1. Correspondence to: Dr.ssa Daniela Nigri, Via 4 Novembre, 43/a, 21026 Gavirate (Va). E-mail:

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