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Nearly a third of Malawi's children do not attend primary school, and more than one in ten live with HIV/AIDS. We work in Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu to help families provide a safe, happy childhood for their children, and to provide care for those who cannot grow up with their parents. … more about our charity work in Malawi

International Youth Day: the problem of unemployment

International Youth Day: the problem of unemployment

12th August is International Youth Day. Nearly 40 per cent of the world's unemployed people are between the ages of 15 and 24. Young people leaving care are especially vulnerable, as they often have a poor education and limited practical training. SOS Children are working to improve the prospects for thousands of young people across the world.

Unemployment amongst young people has been an increasing trend for many years in all parts of the world, in developed as well as in less developed countries. Causes include a poor education, lack of practical skills, as well as an absence of career guidance.

For young people who have been in alternative child care, finding a job may be even more challenging.  Many young people who have grown up in alternative care have had disrupted school careers and faced a great deal of instability in many aspects of their lives. In poor areas, they may struggle to find a formal education. Without the necessary skills to gain employment, young people face a lifetime of poverty and deprivation.

Fully aware of these challenges, SOS Children work to guide young people in our Children’s Villages and the wider communities towards independence, and give them skills that will help them to find employment. We run nurseries, primary and secondary schools in areas where there is no education available. In addition, we run 109 Vocational Training Centres, which equip 17,500 young people with skills relevant to their local job market. The Centres provide accredited courses in a range of vocations, such as carpentry, textiles, cookery and agriculture. The support the young people receive also includes career guidance, to ensure that they are progressing well and help them to find a job at the end of their course.

A brighter future at SOS Vocational Training Centre in Lilongwe, Malawi

Since opening its doors to students in June 2004, the SOS Vocational Training Centre Lilongwe has provided an education to hundreds of students in a variety of subjects.SOS Vocational Training Centre, Lilongwe, Malawi

With a capacity of 140 students, the centre offers training in practical subjects such as building, carpentry, horticulture and information technology. Most students are young people between eighteen and twenty two.

Harry, John and Mabvuto all found academic subjects difficult and failed to complete Secondary School. When they saw the carpentry and joinery course at the SOS advertised they jumped at the opportunity to learn a new skill.

In the short period that they have been at the centre they have learned to make first class furniture such as display cabinets. They are working towards an accreditation in woodwork

"After dropping out of secondary school, I thought that was the end of my life, but looking at what I am able to make now, (furniture for sale), I am confident my future is still bright",
says John.

In addition to the practical courses on offer, the training centre prepares graduates for thw working world by offering classes on business development skills, and tutors are on hand to help with preparing business plans for those who want to set up their own companies.

Learn more about our youth work in a special edition of Family Matters.