ROTA funds initiative for Yemen self-employment
10 Jul 2017 - 2:37
The Education Above All foundation, through its programme Reach Out To Asia (ROTA) has funded an initiative in Yemen promoting self-employment and entrepreneurship among youth and it has benefit the community largely.
The ‘Towards Better Economic Opportunities for Youth Project’ was implemented by CARE International in seven districts of the Sana'a and Hajjah governorates between 2013 and 2016 in Yemen. The project targeted 1,100 disadvantaged youth, aged 18 to 24, with a special focus on women and marginalised youth. The aim of the project has been to empower young people economically, through the provision of training in life skills.
The innovative project has played a major role in addressing unemployment and the need of giving skills training, and access to sustainable and appropriate forms of financing.
A member of one of the most marginalised communities, Elham Radman Al Qadasi, was 24 years old and living in the Maeen district, one of the poorest neighbourhoods of the capital Sana’a, when she joined the Towards Better Economic Opportunities for Youth Project; "I was targeted by the project to join the training due to my economic background. I had sadly abandoned my dream of attending university due to the difficult financial and economic situation, and I did not even get an opportunity for any vocational training as the tuition is very expensive.” Elham explained that despite the deteriorating security situation in the country, she and the majority of her fellow trainees managed to complete their course, and a great camaraderie existed between them, "I started the training in September 2015 with great enthusiasm; I enjoyed it, as well as my time with the other trainees."
Elham enrolled in hairdressing and beauty training, and this field of work enabled her to work from the small home she shared with her mother and six younger siblings. Despite the cramped surroundings, soon the combination of vocational training and hard work paid off, and word of Elham's skills, plus her reputation for creativity, spread through her neighbourhood, and beyond to other areas of Sana'a.
Within a year, Elham had a strong customer base and found herself receiving advance bookings, particularly for her hairdressing services for weddings and other special occasions. "The knowledge and skills that I acquired from the training enabled me to get an income, both to meet my immediate needs, and to help my family. I even registered at the university this year in order to continue my studies”, she proudly added.
Talking fondly of her time in the programme, Elham says the training in life skills, entrepreneurship and vocational skills helped her both personally and professionally; "I was very happy when I knew that my business work plan was selected among the best ones", Elham says with a big smile. "The project has supported me with the vocational toolkit to start my small business and I am now much more confident, stronger, and independent, and a productive person in my society. I am really happy for this change in my life. I achieved my dream and my life changed and is full of hope, and I am very thankful to CARE and ROTA".
Elham wants to see other poor and marginalised young people, especially girls, assisted out of the poverty trap. With Yemen’s population estimated to increase to approximately 60 million by 2050, Yemen needs more young people like Elham to be given the opportunity to realise their potential.
The devastating civil war in Yemen has been headline news since it escalated in 2015. The protracted conflict has caused massive numbers of civilian deaths, internal displacement, plus the destruction of vital infrastructure. Yet behind the scenes of this large-scale humanitarian disaster, Yemen was already enduring an economic crisis - the challenge of finding employment and livelihood options for its young and growing population.
Youth unemployment, is over 30 percent in Yemen; close to twice the rate of overall unemployment, which already stands at nearly 16 percent, and is one of the highest in the world. In the prevailing circumstances, it is not possible for Yemen's economy to create adequate employment for this burgeoning young population and the families they need to support.