“Nilipoingia Jitegemee, nilianza kufeel ni kama niko home, watu wanakukubali bila kuangalia umetoka wapi.”– Alex, a 21 year-old Youth Hub student
(When I got into Jitegemee, I started feeling at home, with people who accept you without looking at your background),”
Alex is one of Jitegemee’s Youth Hub students, and has been participating in Jitegemee’s entrepreneurship and life-skills training program. He tells us that being part of the program has changed his outlook in life. Coming from a family of 11 children and growing up in an impoverished community in Machakos, he has seen many of his peers badly affected by drug abuse. He did not want this to be his reality so he sought help from Jitegemee, and now spends his days not only learning life skills, but also learning masonry that he hopes will help him generate a sustainable source of income.
Despite the disruptions of the past year, Jitegemee’s Youth Hub, has provided training and support to under- and unemployed youth in Machakos. With youth unemployment at almost 40% in Kenya, after graduating from high school, many youth from vulnerable backgrounds are faced with a bleak future and uncertainty as to how to enter the job market or translate their education into income. Jitegemee’s Youth Hub builds on the success of our Rehabilitation and Vocational training program taught for more than a decade by our founding teacher, Alex Mutiso. The Vocational program provides rehabilitation and training to teenagers who dropped out of formal schooling.
In 2017, Jitegemee graduate, Peter Muasya, who is now our Economic Empowerment Manager, conducted a survey on the state of youth in Machakos. Discovering high levels of under- or unemployment, the Youth Hub is an initiative he spearheaded in response to those needs to provide life skills and entrepreneurship training for those young people who make it through high school, but still find themselves trapped by poverty. Over a period of three months, Muasya, supported by Jitegemee teachers and staff, meets daily with a group of young people from our community and they participate in training on living values, effective communication, sexual and reproductive health, as well as entrepreneurship. After this, the students select a trade and do six months of on-the-job training with a mentor in Machakos town.
This work makes me so happy, as I myself grew up in this community where people, including my family, faced hurdles such as sleeping hungry or not having fees for school. I want to be part of changing the story for our youth and their families in Machakos and beyond. My dream is that in future, no young person in Kenya will struggle in life because of lack of opportunities or work.”– Peter Muasya, Economic Empowerment Manager and Jitegemee graduate
Being part of the Youth Hub has become a pillar of support and provides hope for young people like Alex. Following his 3-month training at Jitegemee, Alex is now learning masonry with a mentor. He is hopeful he will soon use these skills to generate income himself.
“With the money I earn from the skills I will have acquired, I hope to be able to provide a better future for my other family members,”says Alex.
With the Youth Hub, Jitegemee hopes to be instrumental in helping young people find and create employment in Machakos, by giving skills and hope to these youth to ensure a bright future as productive and contributing members of society.