EDC is working to assist thousands of out-of-school young people in Haiti who are living on the streets, in domestic servitude, or with families too poor to provide them an education.
Funded by USAID, EDC works with 12 Haitian community-based organizations to operate 12 youth centers. These centers teach out-of-school youth basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills and provide lessons in health, nutrition, conflict-resolution, and other life-skills. Students also learn a trade such as sewing, woodworking, or auto mechanics. The 12 months of study are free, and graduates participate in six months of follow-up adult mentoring that focuses on small enterprise creation, internships, and job placement. The project will “open many doors for participating youth,” predicts Guerda Previlon, project coordinator. “Programs like this are crucial for the socio-economic development of Haiti, and we hope to see it extended at the national level.”
In June, 450 students received graduation certificates and gifts. Those who learned to sew received scissors, needles and thread, and a tape measure. The bakers got measuring cups, spoons, bowls, and an apron. “These are young people who have never owned anything,” says Micheline Hjardemaal, project staff. “We want to give them something to help them make a new start.”
Originally published on September 1, 2006