SYSC has suspended our programming so we can support our community through the pandemic. We are distributing soap, running food banks, installing water tanks and checking in on those most at-risk.
Informal settlements are not easy places to slow a pandemic.
Housing conditions are crowded, there is no running water, and few can afford masks or sanitizer. Most work informal economy jobs that are perilous at the best of times. Staying home now means hunger.
When we recover from this crisis, it is time to address the long-standing systemic neglect behind these issues.
The main goal of our programs is to give youth the skills and supports needed to gain agency over their lives and lift themselves from poverty. We do this by offering a range of educational, health and support services. Depending on available funding, these include:
JOB SKILLS TRAINING
We provide vocational and life skills training in the high-demand fields of tailoring, welding, masonry. These are some of Kenya's highest-demand fields and also well-suited for self-employment. We also offer apprenticeships by building public-private partnerships so youth gain on-the-job experience.
Our informal school offers free education opportunities for children of displaced families and refugees who live and arrive in the communities we serve. While primary school is free in Kenya, it remains out of reach for many due to hidden administrative costs. As evidence, we run at capacity with about 50 participating kids and many waiting to join.
Rates of sexually-transmitted disease and unplanned pregnancy and engagement in commercial sex work are too high here. Many youth - out-of-school and unemployed - lack knowledge of safe practices. We run temporary health clinics and train-the-trainer health education initiatives in partnership with local organizations. HIV/AIDS testing and education and reproductive health information are key priorities.
We offer a range of initiatives, like sports teams, drama, music and computer courses, and scouts, to help youth gain leadership skills. We also offering counselling and mentorship, support a women's self-help group, support food security through community gardening, and run civic engagement training prior to local elections. Together with our other programs, our goal is to give youth more control over their life's direction and ability to shape our community.