Invest in Youth. Transform Lives
30th April 2018, is day that the future of 102 young Malawian people transformed. Prior to this day, these youths all had one thing in common; they were school dropouts with no income or skills to survive. But now their story is different.
Their new tale started in 2017, when Save the Children through the Youth in Action (YiA) program provided them a new pathway that changes their lives for the better. Through YiA, these youths; most of whom dropped out in the earliest years of primary school; got a second chance to receive foundational literacy and numeracy skills.
The youths then also received a chance to gain vocational skills in various trades; skills that can transform their lives forever.
30th April 2018 is the day that the youths officially graduated and received certificates for their vocational skills. The youths that were only a few months ago labelled as school drop-outs are now trained carpenters, tailors, construction workers, electricians and welders with an ability to generate their own income.
Speaking on behalf of her fellow graduating youths during the graduation ceremony in Kasungu district, Rabecca Mtima said that she and her peers now have a renewed hope for the future.
“Our names have now changed to carpenters, tailors, electricians and so forth. We are now not just school dropouts”, she said.
“Most of us could not afford to get this education. Save the Children has opened a door for us, please let us use this wisely”, she said to her fellow youths.
On average it costs approximately MK250,000 (350 USD) train one candidate in a six month vocational skills program making it unaffordable for most rural families.
The Central Region Service Manager for the Technical, Entrepreneurial and Vocational Education and Training Authority (TEVETA) Mr. Victor Luwambala applauded the youths on their commitment to re-write their stories.
“The award of the certificate (awarded by TEVETA) is not the end of the road but a start. We urge you parents to continue to support these youths so they can achieve their goals”, he said adding that Save the Children sets a good example of going the extra mile and providing start up materials for all the graduating youths.
Save the Children Deputy Country Director, Stanley Phiri speaking before the presentation of certificates, emphasized that there is an urgent need to invest in youth so that they can not only participate but lead in development.
Malawi has a population of 17 million people and out of this 13 million are below the age of 30. Director of youth in the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Judith Msusa describes the youth as ‘a force to be reckoned with’.
She added that government wants to have skilled young people that are empowered to create their own jobs and jobs for others within their communities.
The 102 youths that graduated are part of 7400 youths from Kasungu, Ntchisi and Mchinji that were reached by the YiA program. These 102 youths were trained at the Bowe Youth Vocational Training institute in Kasungu.
In Malawi the YiA program was launched in 2012, as a livelihoods programme designed to empower rural youth and improve their socio-economic status for them to be self-reliant. It is a programme that seeks to maximise opportunities and development outcomes for youth.
The program is funded by the MasterCard Foundation.
By Lindiwe Bandazi