ECUADOR: New technical training benefits young women
Project reduces poverty with technical skills, promoting family and entrepreneurship
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Machala, Ecuador, launched a project to provide technical education for more than 200 at-risk young people from low-income sectors in the city. Salesians also supported 20 small family business initiatives to improve the living conditions of the beneficiaries. The project was supported by the Salesian Mission Office in Madrid, the ADEY Foundation and the Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Ecuador.
The goal was to reduce poverty by strengthening technical skills and promoting family and entrepreneurship for young people ages 18-35. Courses focused mostly on young women who are migrants, mainly from Venezuela, and Ecuadorian citizens experiencing social exclusion, including single mothers and economically dependent women. With lower levels of education, these young women face the greatest barriers to accessing training and employment.
Education included courses in gastronomy, cosmetics and cell phone repair, which were held at three different times. Each course included 108 hours of face-to-face lectures on technical topics, 12 hours of lectures on peace culture, entrepreneurship, and business models, and 24 hours of hands-on individual work that was done at home. A total of 218 students participated in the courses, with 68% of the students women and 32% men. Of the students, 56% were from Ecuador and 44% were migrants.
One Salesian missionary said, “Through vocational training, promoting entrepreneurship, and working with the community on human rights and peace issues, the project has been a positive impact on reducing inequality. It has also contributed to poverty reduction and improved the quality of life and development opportunities for youth.”
He added, “The implementation of the project over the past year has already yielded excellent results in terms of the level of education and employability of people with limited economic resources, and the second phase is already underway.”
At the end of the courses, graduates received recognition and a certificate for their skills. In addition, 70% of the participants’ families were able to diversify their sources of income. Twenty graduates were able to access microcredit to support their business dreams. At least 159 families reported that after the project, they learned about respect, values, business plans, marketing, and other topics that promote women’s empowerment and have a positive impact relating to tolerance and solidarity.
Ecuador is one of the most inequitable societies in the world, according to UNICEF. The richest 20% of the population receives almost 50% of the national income, while the poorest 20% receives only 5%. According to the World Food Program, almost 26% of all children under age 5 have stunted growth, increasing to 31% in rural areas and 47% in Indigenous communities.
Salesians provide social development and educational programs across Ecuador to help poor youth gain an education and the skills for later employment. The skills they learn ensure they are able to care for themselves and their families while being contributing members of their communities.
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Salesian Missions – Ecuador
UNICEF – Ecuador