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Empowering local youth

Vijana Poa Rotaract project offers a “hand up” into upskilling.
Vijana Poa Rotaract project offers a “hand up” into upskilling
Upskilling: Vijana Poa participants took part in mock interviews as part of the work readiness program.

Our 2016 St Jude’s graduates are already showing the skills needed to become leaders of Tanzania through their involvement with the Rotaract Club of St Jude’s Arusha.

Community Service Year interns Godfrey, Winrose and Miriam have been running workshops for unemployed youths through our Rotaract club’s first project, Vijana Poa.

Vijana Poa, meaning “youth are cool” in Kiswahili, was designed to combat the biggest social problem facing youth on the continent – unemployment.

“We discovered 53% of Tanzanian youth are unemployed, so we decided that work readiness training and entrepreneurship education through the project would be a great way to inspire and empower some deserving youths,” club President Seb Cox said. 

“Using the Rotary Vijana Poa model, we projected a budget, held a fundraiser and sought support through our mother club, the (local) Rotary club of Arusha Mount Meru. Through an extensive application process we found 12 motivated and deserving local youths to participate in the program.”

Our 2016 St Jude’s graduates are already showing the skills needed to become leaders of Tanzania through their involvement with the Rotaract Club of St Jude’s Arusha.

Community Service Year interns Godfrey, Winrose and Miriam have been running workshops for unemployed youths through our Rotaract club’s first project, Vijana Poa.

Vijana Poa, meaning “youth are cool” in Kiswahili, was designed to combat the biggest social problem facing youth on the continent – unemployment.

“We discovered 53% of Tanzanian youth are unemployed, so we decided that work readiness training and entrepreneurship education through the project would be a great way to inspire and empower some deserving youths,” club President Seb Cox said. 

“Using the Rotary Vijana Poa model, we projected a budget, held a fundraiser and sought support through our mother club, the (local) Rotary club of Arusha Mount Meru. Through an extensive application process we found 12 motivated and deserving local youths to participate in the program.”

The majority of these participants had attained only a primary-level education and struggled to find gainful employment, with many spending their days walking door-to-door to find a job.

The majority of these participants had attained only a primary-level education and struggled to find gainful employment, with many spending their days walking door-to-door to find a job.

In it together: The 12 motivated and deserving local youths enjoyed their Vijana Poa experience and now have internships to show for it.
In it together: The 12 motivated and deserving local youths enjoyed their Vijana Poa experience and now have internships to show for it.

Their workshop, comprising of intensive one-day classes, began last month and covered topics such as Generating a Business and Developing and Managing Employment. 

“We found the existing Vijana Poa modules to be a fantastic program framework, but the make-up and education levels of our participants called for continuous reflection and flexibility within the original sessions,” project officer Olivia Leach said. 

“The two original business practicals of soap-making and juice-making were major program highlights.”

It seems all the hard work and dedication, from everyone involved, is paying off.

While no financial or employment opportunities from project participation were promised, Rotaract members were so impressed by the participants’ skills and aspirations they were soon soliciting within their networks for potential mentors, internships and pathways to employment.

Motivating: St Jude’s staff members (secondary campus academic coordinator Mcharo, secondary boarding master Revocatus, Rotaract member and HR administrator Magdalyne, former facility manager Benedict Barnabas and career guidance counsellor and secondary Geography teacher Denis Colman) were on-hand to help out when needed, such as giving mock interviews.
Motivating: St Jude’s staff members (secondary campus academic coordinator Mcharo, secondary boarding master Revocatus, Rotaract member and HR administrator Magdalyne, former facility manager Benedict Barnabas and career guidance counsellor and secondary Geography teacher Denis Colman) were on-hand to help out when needed, such as giving mock interviews.

They drafted a letter to local Rotarians and business owners that returned over 12 suitable placements, four paid at a stipend and seven with agreed upon pathways to employment. The internships will initially run for three months, with club members assigned to oversee each placement.

Donate to St Jude’s today and know your money will go a long way. Our school community actively aids thousands of others locally, just like Rotaract members have given these young people “a hand up, not a hand-out”. Help fight poverty through education today!

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