In Mpika, a northern region in Zambia, a lack of educational support has lead to high youth unemployment rates.
Despite a growing demand for trades in the expanding region, the local trade school had previously closed down due to lack of funding; leaving young people keen to learn a vocation with nowhere to go.
More educational opportunities were needed, and together with the community, World Vision created the Mpika Youth Empowerment Project.
As part of the project, the trade school was re-opened. Staff were hired, out-of-date equipment updated and students enrolled.
Since the school was re-established two years ago, eighty vulnerable youths have benefitted from attending the school. Classes are now open to all.
The trade school includes training on trades currently in demand in Mpika. These include bricklaying, carpentry and brick/block-making. The school also provides basic business management training, from bookkeeping to marketing.
The trade school receives support from World Vision’s Gifts-in-kind program.
Thanks to the generosity of Australian upholstery wholesaler Windsor Fabrics, furniture students at the school have had access to high quality upholstery materials and fabrics. They have been using the donated materials to produce domestic furniture.
Graduates of the trade school have demonstrated both skill and initiative and many have been snapped up by local furniture businesses.
Three standout graduates were accepted into an apprenticeship program for a local small-scale manufacturer. Windsor Fabrics once again got behind the youth of Mpika, donating materials for the apprentices to work with.
The Mpika Youth Empowerment Project is now looking to expand its reach.
Students of the trade school are currently working to create a new artisans’ business centre.
The centre is to become a hub of business support in the community, and will house a business association that will administer microloans to new graduates starting up small businesses.
The centre will also have workshop spaces available for rent and a tool library for graduates to borrow work tools.