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MY NAME IS AB and I am 18 yrs old. I’ve been here in Canada
since 2011. I came here with my family except my dad and brother. I was born and raised in Ethiopia.

DIFFERENT SOCIAL NORMS OF DATING

Dating is a secret back home because people are more scared and will not dare date. I was very religious and I was young back home. Here in Canada, relationships are more open and you don’t have to hide. I’ve dated and at the beginning a lot of people didn’t know about it. Though I didn’t tell my mom and when my mom found out she wasn’t happy about it. People get into your relationship a lot especially from our community here in Canada. In Canada, though you feel free to date but people in my community are still much into your business, so it’s better to still keep it a secret. My older brother was okay with me dating but my sister wasn’t okay with me dating . She is more religious and doesn’t approve of dating before marriage. My relationship lasted for six months and looking back, I think I was too young to date. For me, it was more about the experience. I’m currently not dating and I will wait for the right time. When I’m old enough, and have graduated, and have a job . Basically, when I have stability.

sex was not SOMETHING YOU TALK ABOUT

I remember at age 10 there were people that would walk around the parks in Ethiopia and give out condoms and teach about how to use it but no one would listen, everyone would be busy doing their things. When people were giving out condoms at the park, most of the adult men were not happy about it because they view it as very disrespectful because acts like that are not viewed as teaching but rather shaming the adults. Sex is not a topic you discuss in the public settings, and teaching the adult men especially on the use of condoms is like telling them that they don’t know anything. And not everyone will want a condom handed to them in public. Majority of the people in Ethiopia are Muslim and very religious and sex is not something they talk about in the open. I went to a Muslim school and they didn’t teach us anything in that regard.

no mention OF SEX WITH MY PARENTS, NOT EVER

In my family, we don’t talk about sex. No one ever mention sex, not even my older brothers. I am comfortable talking to them about everything and anything but we do not talk about sex. Mostly you will hear the older adults and parents say to the young people that when you get older you will know more about sex but
for now you are just too young to talk about sex.

In Canada, there are lots of tools. We have social media, and internet. There are also classes like health class and biology. They start teaching about sex in middle schools and when you get to high school, the teachers just run through the topic. For African kids who mostly did not attend middle schools here in Canada, they always get confused because the teachers in health classes do not give very detailed information about sex because I feel like the teachers just assumes that the kids have already been taught in middle school. I have had friends who used to ask about it in class and you will hear a kid say “Oh we already talked about this in middle school.” Middle school health class is so helpful.

In Africa, we need more education when it comes to sex and teaching about sex to young people.
We need more qualified professionals and courses to teach in schools because it will help lots of people.
And because not everyone will want to listen in public about sex.

BE OPEN-MINDED

For African youth, who might be new in Canada, they shouldn’t be afraid to learn. Learn everything and be open to learn new things. Be open minded. The education is just for your future.


 
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