Skills Training Empowerment Program (STEP)

In January 2013, Young Heroes launched STEP, an important new program that offers a year-long course in skills training and business education to orphans who age out of our sponsorship program when they turn 19. Our goal is to assist them in making the transition to young adulthood by helping to provide the means to support themselves and their families.

Thanks in part to grants from the Global Fund for Children and Newman's Own Foundation, the first year's class of 15 students became trained and certified in their choice of one of eight vocations at no cost:

  • Carpentry
  • Catering
  • Construction
  • Electrician
  • Plumbing
  • Tailoring
  • Agriculture
  • Arts and Crafts

At the same time, STEP students receive basic education in business, from accounting to marketing. Graduates now have the opportunity to find employment or become entrepreneurs, either on their own or in conjuction with Manzini Youth Care's workshop. Young Heroes provides those who choose this path with a microfinance loan for tools and equipment. Alternatively, we try to help them in finding employment or further certification from the Swaziland College of Technology.

During their year of study, trainees receive sponsorships for food, clothing, and transportation. After six months of steady income in their chosen field, successful trainees will be expected to sponsor another Young Heroes orphan themselves; after two years of experience, they will be expected to take on a subsequent STEP graduate as an apprentice.

The success of the program's first year enabled us to expand it to 42 students in 2014 and 55 in 2015, and to offer the opportunity of enrolling at Siteki Industrial and Technical College (SITC) or Nhlangano Industrial and Technical College (NITC), as well as at Manzini Youth Care, our original parter.

Our Partner: Manzini Youth Care

Young Heroes is grateful to partner with Manzini Youth Care in this initiative.

Manzini Youth Care logo

For more than 30 years, MYC has provided accommodation, support, care, and education for marginalized and homeless young people at risk through poverty. Father Larry McDonnell, a Salesian priest, was and still is the leading inspiration behind this project. Today, MYC runs six residential homes for over a hundred and twenty boys and offer education and training in a wide variety of disciplines.

Our first class of STEP trainees.
Our first class of STEP trainees.

An MYC workshop.
An MYC workshop.

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