NEPAL: New Program Helps Poor Youth Gain Employment Skills
(MissionNewswire) Although there has been some recent growth in the country, Nepal remains one of the poorest in the world according to the World Bank. In the 2013 United Nations Human Development report, Nepal ranked 157th out of 187 countries. On average about one in four people live in poverty in Nepal. That rates rises sharply to close to 50 percent for those living in the mid-western and far western parts of the country due to rough terrain that makes farming almost impossible.
Those living in rural areas face the worse poverty. Close to 80 percent of the country’s population live in rural areas and rely on farming to make a living. Most of these households have little to no access to health care, education, safe drinking water, sanitation or other basic services. Nearly half of all children under the age of five are malnourished.
Access to education in Nepal is a path out of poverty for youth. The Salesian-run Don Bosco Technical Institute in Kathmandu kicked off the second educational session of the year with a new program to empower rural and disadvantaged youth.
Both boys and girls from all over Nepal have entered into the “Learn, Earn and Pay” educational program. The program is structured for those who cannot afford normal job training courses. The program is initially free and students are able to choose a six-month course in a subject of their choice. The cost of the course will be repaid by the students later when they have found work and are able to pay off the debt.
“The program is intended to give even the poorest and most disadvantaged young people a chance to acquire professional skills and to have the best possible opportunities to enter the workforce,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “In turn, once they are working, they contribute back to the program which then pays for free courses for other students in need.”
Current students for this new program are enrolled in training programs for computer, electrical, fashion design, tailoring, beautician and automobile repairs. Youth are able to learn new employable skills, join the workforce and then have the satisfaction of contributing back to the school and program that helped them on their way. Newer students directly benefit from older students success.
According to a school representative, this program has attracted twice the number of young people who joined the school than in previous school sessions. Close to 160 students began their skills training program this past school session. Youth from distant parts of Nepal are able to attend the school as well and are accommodated in hostels run by the Salesians of Don Bosco and the Salesian Sisters.
Don Bosco Technical Institute started its technical and vocational training in November 2011. Today students are able to take coursework and gain certification in a number of highly needed trades including computer application, computer graphics and hardware, accounting, both building and industrial electrician, mobile repairing, welding and carpentry as well as fashion, apparel and lifestyle design. Most of the trades offered are for a shorter duration and in modules of basics, intermediate and advanced courses.
World Bank- Nepal