Against a backdrop of bomb blasts by militant group al-Shabaab, 116 young people in Somalia recently overcame a past torn apart by conflict and clan violence, and now have the opportunity to build a better future for themselves and their communities.
In the city port of Kismayo, southeastern Somalia, these young people graduated from a six month skills training course learning to become electricians, plumbers and tailors. This is part of a three year project to support livelihoods, improve job creation and help build peace between previously warring communities.
For Abdifatah, the training altered the course of his life: “Before I joined SADO’s vocational training, my ambition was to join the boat migration to Europe. How to migrate and reach Europe was my biggest worry. But today such worries have vanished. I am a skilled person and can create my own business.”
Building opportunities from the ground up helps ensure sustainable growth and inclusion for young people at risk of alienation – the result of 20 years of civil war, violence and entrenched poverty.
Building their own futures, and that of their families and communities, is a crucial step along the road to reconstruction.
Abdi Botan, local Project Manager on the ground, said: “today these young people are technicians, able to create livelihood opportunities for themselves and their families from what they have learned.”
The knowledge and expertise of our local partner, SADO, is crucial in supporting these young people. In a complex crisis where outsiders have little understanding and even less access, the most effective way to bring about practical change is through local organisations.
Now graduates, these 116 young people will receive start up loans to establish their own small businesses. They will be provided with ongoing mentoring and business skills support. With the next group of trainees having begun their courses, the project is fast gaining momentum.
Your support is providing positive opportunities for hundreds of young people like Abdifatah in Kismayo. For many, it means fight or flight – joining al-Shabaab or attempting the treacherous crossing to Europe – are not the only two options for survival.
Against the backdrop of a world battling war, conflict and violence, these young people are a powerful example that we can bring positive change in countries recovering from deadly conflict, one person at a time.