Zala at one of our vocational training centres in Ethiopia
International Youth Day – August 12 2019

"I just wanted to go to school"

"In Ethiopia, electrical work is male dominated.  I want to change the stereotype that women lack the ability to find employment in this profession. My skills are important in the community.” - Zala, 18, Ethiopia
 

Zala had a difficult childhood, growing up in poverty and with a mother who was often ill. She had to drop out of school to look after her mother and keep their home running. The money Zala could earn from selling small items was not enough to keep paying the rent, and they lost their home.

“I just wanted to go to school. I wanted to learn as much as possible and achieve the highest level of education,” Zala told us. “Instead, I skipped school a lot. I was sad most of the time.”

Now 18 years old, Zala has joined the SOS vocational training centre in Kality, Ethiopia. Motivated by the hardship she faced as a child, Zala is determined to become financially independent and provide for herself and her mother.

She is studying Building Electrical Installation – a profession which boasts few women members in Ethiopia.

But Zala is determined to challenge gender stereotypes.

“In Ethiopia, electrical work is male dominated.  I want to change the stereotype that women lack the ability to find employment in this profession. My skills are important in the community,” she says.

Demand for electrical engineers is high in Ethiopia’s big cities, and Zala is confident she can make a success of her chosen career when she completes her course in March 2020.

“I have come to realise that I can do whatever I put my mind to,” she told us. “I am receiving quality training and I love it so much. I now have a good chance at a bright future.”

This International Youth Day, more than 64 million young people worldwide are unemployed. Ensuring that education for young people like Zala is relevant, fair and inclusive is key to overcoming generational poverty and enabling young people to succeed.

The SOS vocational training centre in Kality teaches skills that prepare students for a variety of occupations that are in demand in the region, including mechanics, metal and wood working, and plumbing. Up to 90% of its graduates find employment after completing their courses. The centre is one of 59 that SOS Children’s Villages operates around the world.

With regular monthly donations from our supporters, we can help keep vocational training centres running and ensure disadvantaged young people gain the skills they need to achieve their dreams and empower their communities.

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