Garuka Economic Empowerment program is designed to give people the tools to be able to support themselves economically. Primarily, this part of our work is aimed not at children who live and work on the streets, more at youths and families, those who have the capacity to work and to forge livelihoods themselves.
We have a number of key aims and objectives under this scheme;
- To prevent children from dropping out of school to the streets because of lack of basic provision through economically empowering their guardian.
- To enable guardians of vulnerable children to provide for the basic needs of the children in their care, without having to depend on hand-outs.
- To help parents regain the self-esteem they have lost through poverty and their inability to meet their children's basic needs, giving them a legitimate income to support themselves and their dependents.
- To engage street youths in legal and productive training and work..
- To teach parents and guardians financial responsibility by giving loans, rather than aid, which have to be repaid over time.
- To enable youths and parents who want to get into work to not be hindered by not being literate.
INTO WORK SCHEME
This is aimed at children above 18 years old who are unable to go back to secondary school, and who need productive employment to prevent them from following many down the line of alcohol and drug abuse, and not being able to support themselves or a future family. The scheme works with trainers in Kicukiro and its surrounding areas and villages, providing apprenticeship training and giving the children vocational skills that can be directly translated into meaningful employment.
Alongside the skills training, we also work with them on life skills, educating them on how to use the money they earn responsibly, how to save money, how to give good customer service, and how to market their business effectively. We find working with the boys and girls in groups is particularly effective, encouraging a cooperative style support group for savings, advice and other networking opportunities. At any one time, we normally have about 20 children in the scheme, though this depends on how successful each skills training is, with opportunities available in everything from Tailoring, Bakery and pastry, welding to carpentry, etc. We even conduct market research to try and ascertain which business areas are highest in demand, to really give the children and youths' the best chance to succeed economically.
ADULTS EDUCATION CLASSES
We operate literacy and numeracy classes at our training place, which are designed to help those both in the 'Into Work' scheme and in the local community to be able to function on a basic level with regards to reading, writing and math. For a lot of the boys and girls participating in the 'Into Work' scheme, they will increasingly need to read and sign contracts as well as creating their own marketing material, and without basic skills in the aforementioned areas, these tasks will be impossible.
LIVELIHOOD AND FAMILY SUPPORT
Livelihood and Family Support are very similar, only that Family Sponsorship generally supports an individual family or family member, whereas Livelihood Support works with groups or cooperatives. We provide financial support to individuals and groups in the form of loans, encouraging the groups themselves to form micro-finance initiatives, taking responsibility for their savings and growth themselves, and we continue to support these groups, and individuals, in educating them on life skills, how to live responsibly, and how they can begin to help other people in similar positions. The Family and livelihood program is something which we encourage donors and interested parties to get specifically involved in.