RAFIKI YA MAISHA plans to build 8 workshops in Chepkanga, North-Western Kenya, in order to equip unschooled teens with professional skills. The new structure will be built with homemade bricks. The training of the youth, especially girls, aims to achieve empowerment and self-reliance.
In rural Kenya, 74% of the teenagers and young adults are unable to move beyond available free primary education. These 'lost' teens or 'dropouts' typically turn to risky behaviors: early pregnancies for girls, addictions for boys. Towns become ghettoized and rural areas loose their youth. Offering this lost youth a technical education closer to home aims to break the cycle of poverty on site, right where it is needed. Families in a 50km radius around Chepkanga will benefit directly.
The village elders are mobilizing to build a sustainable Polytechnic school with a degree program. It will offer a variety of courses with workshops, a library, a theater, classrooms and boarding facilities. Computers have been introduced in the village through the school. The graduates can start their own businesses or develop a career. This way the entire community will lift itself out of subsistence living.
The education of 200 teens and young adults per year in a landmark school will enable them to provide for their families at large and improve the community.This will also contribute to decreasing strife and conflict; the youth bulge in Kenya combined with the recent 2008 post-electoral violence makes technical training a priority for peaceful living.