Provide Job Skills to Kenyan Slum Youth

by Shauri Yako Community Youth Support Centre (SYSC)

Dear Friends,

We hope the arrival of April finds you well!  Kenya has just experienced a 100-day doctor strike, which has affected many across the country - those from impoverished communities most severely. Sadly, people from the Shauri Yako and Manjengo slum where we work, who could not afford private hospital care, lost their lives. In Kenya, April is one of the wettest months of the year. Let's hope this year's rainy season will wash in postive changes for those at risk in our community.  In this spirit, we continue to work for solutions that will empower youth to help themselves overcome high poverty rates, low education levels and other barriers to a better life.

Kenya continues to face a serious shortage of skilled construction trades persons, while the UNDP reports youth employment stood a near 38% in 2016. So we have struck a collaborative youth skills training program with the CAP Youth Empowerment Institute (YEI) and its Youth Learn, Earn and Save program. 8 youth will be selected from SYSC to  participate in CAP YEI's 2017 Construction Artisan training, and benefit from 3 months of  masonry, plumbing or electrician courses and a 1-month apprenticeship with Option for Homes Kenya. SYSC will meet the cost of trainee’s daily transportation to the training centre for those who cannot afforrd it, and continue to seek additional partners to support our skills training objectives in the areas of masonry, welding and metal fabrication.

In February, we recruited 18 new youth between 14 and 16 to our Scout Group, one of our longest running youth support programs. Scouting supports youth who, in turn, have helped SYSC to engage the community on priorities like enviornmental stewardship. Says Scout group member James: "I am 18 years of age and went to school up to class 8. I am very happy to be a part of SYSC scout group; as scouts we volunteer in the community, we also go to leadership and life skills training camps. This is very helpful and my dream now is to get skills that I can use to create myself a job."

We want you to know that we're working as hard as we can as a very small volunteer run, grassroots organization to fundraise so we can broaden our impact.  We have new volunteers who are focusing on finding project parnters and raising funds. We've seen an increase in donations from you - our individual supporters in the first quarter of 2017.  As always, we are so very grateful for your continuous support and want to assure you that we are putting your donations to good use where there is real need.

May you and your families be happy and well. 

With much gratitude!


Training to make shoes at Nyeri market
Training to make shoes at Nyeri market


December 2016

Nyeri, Kenya

Dear Friends,

As we come to the end year 2016, we are grateful for all the support we received from our Global Giving donors. Your support enabled Shauri Yako Community Youth Support Centre to continue providing skills training for our underprivileged youth. Because of you, we were able to support a youth theatre group with a membership of 16 people and to provide computer skills training. We are proud that the theatre group started performing for pay this Christmas season, and is also performing to provide health and civic education. These opportunities we give to Shauri Yako youth are only possible with your generous donations.

And it’s not too late to make a difference. There is still time to contribute in 2016. Your donation will have its impact multiplied by giving us the chance to compete for bonus prizes in GlobalGiving’s Year-End Campaign. And, if you set up a new recurring donation, your first contribution will be matched 200%!


Thank you for training me how to use a computer

I am 48 year of age; I learned how to use a computer and how to operate an email account here at SYSC. Today, many Kenya government services are offered online, and most people in Shauri Yako community are not computer literate, but can learn and access the free computer services at Shauri Yako Centre. The centre offers opportunities for free training, education programs for our children and a place for youth to escape from the slums. Thank you for supporting our community.

-Jane Mumbi-

Reproductive health education

I am 19 years old and unemployed single mother of two children. I didn’t have knowledge of reproductive health until I attended SYSC Reproductive Health Program here early this year. I am now able to take care of myself, but many youth here are ignorant. There is a huge need for RHE in our community. Girls from 14 years who live in Shauri Yako, Manjengo and Kiawara slums are always at risk. Our custom doesn’t allow parents to teach their children about reproductive health, as a result we make many mistakes that have painful consequences. SYSC project was very helpful.

-Ngendo Muburi- 

I am grateful for giving me job skills

Six month ago I was looking for a place to hangout after a job search and somebody to talk to when I dropped by Shauri Yako Centre. The program coordinator introduced me to the scout and theatre group, and I chose to get involved with theatre group. Today I am a member of that theatre group and I have discovered that I have talent.  I want to pursue further training and study in theatre and acting.

-Maureen Wanja-

Looking Forward:

We look to 2017 with optimism. We have a new group of volunteers helping us with grant writing, and a strategic plan to focus on high demand skills training in metal work, welding, masonry and leather goods production. According to Kenya’s National Housing Corporation, Kenya is experiencing such a shortage of skilled construction industry workers that workers may have to be imported. SYSC is seeking partners to help us seize the opportunity to train the many unemployed youth in our community to help meet this demand.

Thank you again for supporting our work. If you can, PLEASE DONATE TODAY. All donations made by US donors are tax-deductible – so please give by 23:59:59 EST on December 31.

Bless you you abundantly. Look forward to working with you in the New Year.


Joe Mwai

Shauri Yako Community Youth Support Centre

youth theatre troupe
youth theatre troupe
Group Dance
Group Dance

Dear Friends,

For the past four years, the Shauri Yako Community Youth Support Centre's strategy for providing job skills to youth has been to provide training that can help one create self-employment. We are now seeing that the strategy is effective: 54% of youth who have received training here are in self-employment, and others are directly employed.

Theatre and music – self-employment initiative
In the last 20 years, theatre has become a popular form of entertainment and also a useful format for delivering health, civil, and development education. This July, we began a program to give youth here a creative outlet and begin identifying and developing skills in youth with theatre talents. Our new theatre group has been training and practicing with the help of a volunteer teacher and has been able to perform twice in community events and at the Nyeri town hall. The group now has 32 members and will ready for to perform for pay by December. We will develop a proposal to raise $3,200 to buy equipment, 2 speakers, 1 amplifier and 2 microphoes to allow this growth and will be grateful for any support you can provide.

Beads works – self-employment initiative
A youth-organized beads work training was started in September.  The purpose is also to teach youth a skill suitable for a small business through the craft of beadwork. The program will train 12 youth, including offering entrepreneurship training on how to access the market. SYSC is providing space, a volunteer trainer for a period of 3 month and the equipment.

Fundraising remains our top priority so that we can continue to develop and deliver programs that help youth find a sustainable path out of poverty. Urban farming and brickmaking skillls are our top priorty projects and we are always seeking volunteers who can help us fundraise in support of our skills training programs. 

Many thanks for your continuous support.


Jewelry and tailoring exhibition
Jewelry and tailoring exhibition
Theatre Training
Theatre Training

Dear Friends,

I wanted to send a quick update from Nyeri town, Kenya, to say hello and thank you once again for your ongoing support of the Shauri Yako Community Youth Support Centre. It helps us to keep the doors of our centre open to the impoverished youth who reside in Shauri Yako, Manjengo and Kiawara slums. As a small community organization, the funding you provide through Global Giving is critical in helping us to run programs to give these youth a chance at a better future - and we are so grateful to you.

What’s New Around Here?

We are happy to report a new Health Promotion partnership we have formed with Family Health Options (FHO). FHO is now delivering health and reproductive health education to local youth, using SYSC’s facility as a satellite centre. The essential information being provided is building on the reproductive health project that our Global Giving supporters helped us deliver last year.

SYSC’s Scouts group has also begun a new urban farming training program for local youth and their families. The aim of the initiative is to improve food security within our community, where healthy food options can be very hard to come by.

We are also finishing planning on a Masonry and Brickmaking training project proposal. Training local youth in masonry would provide them with job skills in a high demand field. Kenya is experiencing an acute shortage of skilled tradespersons that is impacting the productivity of the construction industry. We have partnered with two local development companies to arrange internships once students complete classroom training. Our next step is finding partners to help us launch this new program. If you have ideas or would like to get involved, please just reply to this email. We’d love to hear from you.

Lastly, we are always happy to report that our junior football team continues, which provides local youth an outlet and chance be a part of a team.

Once again, we are so thankful for your continuing support. We will include some photos with our next report.

My warmest wishes to you.

Joe Mwai

Chair of the Board


Dear Friends,

For the past eight years, the Shauri Yako Youth Support Centre has focused on empowering underprivileged youth from Shauri Yako’s slums through skills training, continuing education and health promotion. We believe this is a sustainable way of reducing youth poverty. But we are a very small, community-based organization, run in the spare time of a handful of volunteers who also must work to support their families. As a result, we have limited capacity to fundraise and pursue grants from big donor organizations. We depend almost entirely on individual donors and partnerships with like-minded organizations who, like us, believe in the importance of giving slum youth a better shot at life.

Although our budget is currently very small, we are proud to tell you of our on-going efforts and accomplishments. For one, we continue to provide free, short employment training courses. Where possible, we assist with job placements. In January 2016, we also formed a partnership with the Youth Learn, Earn and Save Initiative, one of the organizations under CAP Youth Empowerment Institute, to provide youth with job skills training and internships for trainees. The first four participants in this initiative are now taking a three month course at the Buru Buru Centre. SYSC is providing their transport and training space at our centre.

We have also continued to address the lack of reproductive health information available to youth by using the SYSC Scouts as peer educators and delivering information at group meetings. While we have no funding for this program at present, we are continuing to offer individual counselling at our centre. Other good news is that Safaricom has agreed to donate uniforms and balls to support our long-running soccer club, which provides an outlet and teaches teamwork to community youth. Lastly, we are developing a proposal to make Interlocking Bricks, an income-generating idea of our local youth.

“Being a young person with no college education or job skills is a dangerous thing. The ever-increasing youth unemployment in slums, should worry everybody. Thank you for supporting me through the Shauri Yako Community Youth Support Centre.”- Robin, participating in SYSC skills training program-

As always, I want to end by saying that we are always looking for volunteers, both local and international, particularly in the areas of music, theatre, Information Technology, Fundraising and Drawing Arts. If you would like to volunteer or have questions or ideas for us, please just hit reply to this email.

Many thanks and blessings to you and your families.

Joe Mwai
Chair of the Board


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Organization Information

Shauri Yako Community Youth Support Centre (SYSC)

Location: Nyeri, Nyeri District - Kenya
Website: http:/​/​​
Project Leader:
Sarah Van Exan
Toronto, Ontario Canada
$15,670 raised of $22,300 goal
399 donations
$6,630 to go
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