Can you imagine if your 16-year-old child has finished school, but you cannot afford to send them off to High School or University? Imagine if they had to take a low paid job digging up a field for a few pennies, shuffling dirt from one side of the road to the other, or bludgeoning rocks all day to turn them into pebbles, and had no hope that their situation will change any time soon. What would the odds be of your 16-year-old surviving or starting and caring for their own family?
In September 2017, I visited rural Malawi with WeSeeHope as part of a group of CSR travellers from my company Qlik. We visited several communities during our week’s travel and met boys and girls like I describe above. But they wear big smiles. They wear them every day. And all because of WeSeeHope’s Vocational Training Programme.
WeSeeHope works with their local partners to identify kids who are in desperate need of help because they have been orphaned, abused, or have no help from the adults around them. In order to help these young people, WeSeeHope proposes their Vocational Training Programme, which helps the youngsters learn a craft, have a proper education and graduate in the chosen vocation.
I met young people who had graduated and are now running their own carpentry, tailoring, tin making, welding or brick laying businesses. And it doesn’t stop there. They all sign up to ‘graduate and give back’, which means that as soon as they graduate they will be assigned an intern and in turn put them through training and get them ready for their own graduation. This ensures WeSeeHope can help many more youngsters as nine graduates can quickly grow to 18, and to potentially 36, etc.
And it works. It definitely works. I’ve seen guys who stand 10 feet tall, showing the fruits of their labour like a cabinet, or a bed (carpentry), or buckets (tin maker). I’ve seen very proud girls who showed the dresses, shirts and skirts they have made. I’ve seen guys who were so proud of their own attire, as they can now provide for themselves and wear proper clothing; one was even wearing a bright pink ‘Princess Violetta’ hoody, in the sweltering heat, and I have to admit he was the best dressed guy out there that day! These young graduates work hard, and all wear big smiles. Because of WeSeeHope. Because of Qlik.