Thato in his new school uniform
The rainy season is truly kicking in here in Lesotho, and we all hope that this will bring new life and growth to the dry earth here. New beginnings are taking place in other areas here too. Excitingly, this year’s group of women who have been going through our support programme are now ready to graduate and enter into a new phase through Fit4Work.
Fit4Work is a week long workshop designed to give 18-24 year old participants the skills they need to succeed in the workplace or move on to higher education. Activities include team building games, role plays, career guidance, CV sessions, mock interviews, and workplace conduct. At the end of the workshop, successful participants are linked with a volunteer job placement to gain real work experience and linked with a mentor for ongoing support and guidance.
For many of our participants, this workshop has led to real full time employment and/or higher education opportunities. Some of the young women taking part will be receiving hospitality training to enable them take up work in the new catering facilities of our Phase II building, as part of our growing focus on social enterprise and self-sufficiency.
In other great news, exciting new developments are also afoot for the gents: 3 of our participants on the ReCycle project have successfully generated enough income to go back into formal education. One of these young men is Thato, whose life is taking a doubly positive turn now that he has happily returned home to his mother. Thato left home 5 years ago because his father was beating him. He went to live on the streets of Maseru, where he began smoking glue and stopped attending school, helping people to park cars or carry their groceries so that he could buy food.
“It is hard to leave people you know and make new friendships out there, especially to leave family members... I was beaten by the police during the night and sometimes chased by people saying we must go back home. We used to not shower and sleep outside on the street”.
Thato was introduced to Kick4Life by some friends and began receiving support through our OVC initiative. His reasons for leaving home came to light during counselling, and a coincidental visit to his home visit through the ReCycling scheme one Wednesday provided the happy opportunity to be reunited with his mother, who told him that his father had since left. Whilst this has unfortunately left the family without a steady income, Thato returned home on the Sunday of that week and his mother’s relief is evident. She is especially pleased with his involvement with Kick4Life: “The great opportunity is that of going back to school and he is going to have a bright future which will enable him to earn a living”.
Despite having never completed his primary schooling, Thato is now at vocational college learning such skills as furniture making, having passed the entrance exam after taking classes in literacy, English and computing at Kick4Life. Thato is highly motivated by the opportunity to generate his own income through the ReCycle project and is now determined to take charge of his own future. Speaking of his ambitions, he says: “Just to work, and give others the opportunity to work... to have my own business and be able to make sure the family has enough to eat”.
Your support has made stories like this possible, and although Thato is now looking at a much brighter future, he will still attend the ReCycle project in order to continue generating enough funds to stay in education for the full 2 years. Have you had a similar experience of a new life-changing opportunity? At Kick4Life we work to give young people a chance to take control of their futures and build their own successes, with great results.
If you believe in youth empowerment like we do, please continue to support us and let the world know about it! You can donate here, follow us on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook, or just tell your friends about us the old-fashioned way. Whatever you do, you’ll be helping us to keep creating life-changing opportunities for young people in Lesotho.
Thato's mother recounts their story
The Women4Women group at their weekly meeting