The youth face so many barriers in their journey to success and many times, the root cause is lack of capital and skills needed in the labour market. Many youth from vulnerable backgrounds are also not able to complete their education. World Vision, through its Youth Empowerment Project, mapped youth that had dropped out of school, those living with disabilities, and those that live in poverty for training in vocational skills of their choice. Once trained, participants are provided start-up kits.
'Sa neza', loosely translated as Look Good, is an initiative by five girls who put to use the skills they learned from training provided by the Youth Empowerment Project. The group received a start-up kit which has helped them to earn income. Although some of the girls had some level of education, they did not have anything to do due to lack of skills: “Before being enrolled in trainings, we had no capacity in terms of skills needed in order to start a hairdressing salon but also getting start-up capital was only but a dream for us.” Janviere recalls.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough to many businesses, including their own, but the 'Sa neza' group still managed to generate profits and improve their livelihoods. They are able to pay rent for the place where they work and also buy the necessary materials for their business.
Since the 'Sa neza' group started operating, there are many things that changed in the lives of its group members both socially and financially. Although this group had a few months of closure due to COVID-19 lockdown, they managed to save over $72.3 on their joint bank account.
Angelique, the chairperson of the group, says that they face a few challenges as girls owning a hairdressing salon. Some people think that girls cannot manage the salon well, while others feel that they cannot cut men’s hair as well.
However, she says that they have worked hard to show the community that they are just as able like boys/men. “We have saved $72.3 in our SACCO (Saving and Credit Co-operative) account, paid rent and power, bought hairdressing materials and mostly contributed to our family expenses.“ a proud Angelique says.
The success of their business is not only transforming their lives and those of their family members alone, but is also inspiring other girls in their community. The group is providing guidance to members of the community on how to become entrepreneurs as well as teaching those who want to acquire the same skills. The business has opened many opportunities to the group as well as increased their confidence and reputation in their community.
Janviere, 23, after finishing senior three she was not able to continue with her studies due to lack of school fees. She then decided to go to the city, where she got a job as a house help. Unfortunately, she was impregnated whilst working in the role and returned home to give birth. Things took a turn for the better when she was selected among the youth that where trained in hairdressing, and she says that she is very happy with the skill that she acquired. She is able to take care of her child and also help her mother with the paying of medical insurance and other needs. “I would like to advise other teen mothers not to give up; there is still hope even after giving birth.” says Janviere.
World Vision’s Youth Empowerment Programme is aimed at improving the livelihoods and life skills of 100 youth for economic opportunity. It trains youth in entrepreneurship and business development, and improves the capacity of youth to be prepared and equipped for a productive and fulfilling life. The programme also enhances entrepreneurship capacity and financial literacy among youth from most vulnerable families through the organisation of youth coaching and mentoring sessions.