At the Kachimfya Youth Empowerment Program (located at VOH Kitwe) it is our goal to educate, equip, and empower youth with career development, life skills, and the arts.
We provide daily classes free of charge to vulnerable, impoverished, and orphaned youth. Located on-site at VOH, we are next to Racecourse, one of the poorest communities in Kitwe, Zambia.
After grade 6, school fees in Zambia become expensive and many caregivers can no longer afford to send their children to school. Forty-three percent will be forced into early marriage (UNICEF 2014 Report) after grade 6. Those who manage to find a way to continue their education and graduate from grade 12 do so mostly without having acquired any job skills. In addition, these youth likely will not have the finances to continue on to post-secondary education. This leaves an entire age group (17-25 years old) to find a job, learn a skill, and find a way to support their families.
Students who attend the Kachimfya Program are given the skills, knowledge, and tools needed to create their own business or pursue a career. We also provide a discipleship course and give our students a nutritious meal (H.E.P.S.) each day.
Once completing their basic level course, students receive the opportunity to choose a specific trade to learn. We equip them with skills in order to be self-sufficient and empower them to know they are valuable and there is hope for their future.
Community service is an important element in our program. By helping meet the needs of our immediate community, we encourage and empower students by letting them see the difference they can make. Community service also gives our students a chance to help others as a way of showing appreciation for what they have received through the VOH.
As part of our Community outreach, each week we identify a need in the neighboring community of Racecourse, and set out to meet that need to the best of our ability. Public service is not a common or popular trend, and so as we began carrying out these acts of service we saw two types of attitudes coming from the students. Some students were ashamed and didn’t want to be seen cleaning or helping because they feared being judged as “servants.” Other students took an attitude that by doing service they were empowered to make a difference in their world.
As the program progressed and we discussed what we were experiencing each week, the enthusiasm and attitudes of almost all of the students became positive.
Empowerment does not always come overnight. Teaching someone they are valued and showing them they are, are two completely different things.
It is our goal to empower not only our students, but also our communities by modeling the value of working together and helping one another.
If you would like to support our efforts to continue providing education and empowerment to vulnerable youth, please visit our online donation page: vohafrica.com/donate-online (select “Kachimfya” from the dropdown) or contact info[at]vohafrica.com. We appreciate your support!
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