26 young people receive occupational insertion kits
On Saturday 12th March twenty-six young people from the streets who had been reunited with their families through the Ndako Ya Boso centre (NYB) and had completed occupational training in sewing, esthetics, building, mechanics, carpentry, electronics, agriculture and welding, were awarded occupational insertion kits. This is part of our program of support to young people from the streets and reunited with their families, to help them gain access to a job and to become independent.
This program is financially supported by the Belgian bank Paribas working through the “Entraide et Fraternité” (Mutual help and Fraternity) charity and Mrs Claire Godding. These kits contain equipment needed to exercise their various skills: welding equipment, sewing machines, tools for esthetics, clamps, trowels, plastering machines, watering cans and other useful tools to help the young people start their independent business.
When explaining the purpose of the event, Social Educator John Mboma, in charge of occupational training at NYB, called on the wider community to support these young people. He declared: “Previously, young people could not give tangible evidence to the world that they had left the streets and learned a trade. Now, they will be able to start small businesses and prove that they are true professionals because they have the necessary tools.” Seizing his opportunity, he asked that administrative formalities be made easier for these young people in order to set up their business and become independent. The municipal authorities present at the event heard the call and promised to look into it.
In his speech the Deputy Mayor of Makala hailed the achievements of the Chemin Neuf Community through its social activities (St Christine school, Ndako Ya Biso centers that welcome street children, and the St Joseph Occupational Training Center) that help young people of Makala grow up happy and balanced. He called on the young people benefiting from the kits to become role-models and help tutor other young people.
Call to autonomy
The young people who had received our first occupational insertion kits in October 2014 were invited to the occasion. Three came and gave their testimony. Mpia completed his training as a mechanic and got his driving license. Now he works as a van driver and regularly takes people up country to buy goods. He earns his living. He has found his dignity and he is able to help his family. Regean, who likes to be called an “engineer” following his training, got a job in a big firm “Meubles Modernes du Congo” as a welder. Besides this he works weekends in his neighborhood and with his own tools carries out repairs and makes doors and windows. He is proud to have become respectable. Alexandre works every day with his welding equipment, going to all the building sites that give him work. He is pleased to be competent at his job and to be able to use his own tools.
These three young people called on the beneficiaries not to sell their tools, nor store them at home, but to use them and thus gain their autonomy.
In his speech, brother Jean-Pierre Godding, Director of the NYB Center, thanked the Belgian bank Paribas and the “Entraide et Fraternité” charity for their material support of this program, which aims to encourage young people freed from the streets to regain a balanced social life thanks to their autonomy.
After his official address the Deputy Mayor insisted on handing out himself the kits to the young people, adding a personal word of encouragement to each one.
Once all the kits were handed out, and the young people had signed contracts acknowledging the receipt of their kit and committing themselves to using them in the practice of their trade, all present were invited to enjoy refreshments at a reception organized for the laureates.
Importance of occupational training for the Chemin Neuf Community
Occupational training is one of the major tools the Community uses in order to stabilize young people once out of the streets and reunited with their families, and to give them autonomy. The method has three main steps. Firstly the young person discusses with his social worker what he would like to do in life, prior to being reunited with his family and being enrolled in a training center or a workshop in his neighborhood. A training contract is then signed by the manager of the training center, the parent in charge, Ndako Ya Biso, and the young person. Secondly, the young person is monitored regularly at his training center by his referent social worker. Thirdly, the young person is helped to find a placement or become installed in a trade once he/she has completed the training.
Occupational training is so important for the Chemin Neuf Community that it has set up its own training center, St Joseph, where more than half the young people in the care of NYB are placed. Others who live in areas far from our center or who want to follow training that we cannot offer (building trade) are placed in other occupational training centers.