Future entrepreneurs © Photo Courtesy of Opportunity International
OPPORTUNITY INTERNATIONAL unleashes the power of entrepreneurs in some of the world’s poorest countries. Through innovative partnerships, our programs enable people to expand their businesses, feed their families, create jobs and change their communities. Every minute, an Opportunity client accesses the financial tools, training and support to escape poverty and gain the opportunity to live a life with dignity and purpose.
Given the world’s unprecedented “youth bulge,” globally, more than 2.9 billion people are under the age of 25. To end poverty, we need to increase our focus on the challenges presented by the large and growing young population in developing countries, especially in Africa. Opportunity International aims to tackle the critical barriers that prevent young people from accessing decent work and improve the quantity and quality of jobs available to them.
Our ultimate objective is to enable young people to find their way out of poverty through meaningful, dignified work, enjoy a stable livelihood and live a happy, healthy life.
The Youth Apprenticeship Program (YAP) fills the gap for disadvantaged and vulnerable youth aged 15 to 25 who are living in difficult conditions with no resources to impact their futures for the better. Many of these youth have dropped out of school because their families couldn’t afford to send them to school or they needed to support the family in some way. The YAP program strategy builds on our experience in financial inclusion, education and training by combining four broad program components to address this gap and offer realistic pathways leading to stable livelihoods:
- Education, job skill development providing access to school education, formal and informal vocational training, short courses to help the transition from school (or out of school) into a productive workforce
- Financial services beyond core microfinance extending to youth saving accounts and loan products designed for the youth segments and Small/Medium Enterprises to facilitate economic empowerment
- Soft life skill development with a focus on financial literacy, family planning, communications, teamwork, and interview skills
- Mentoring and coaching to build confidence and resilience in disadvantaged youth
Georgina is from Ghana and is one of seven children, her mother, a peasant farmer and her father, a small-scale trader. Georgina made up her mind to learn a trade right from school as she did not have any hope in continuing her education.
She heard an announcement in church about the Sinapi Aba YAP program. After following through on the information provided, she completed the interview process and was selected to be part of YAP. Georgina chose to learn catering because it was something she had always wanted to do.
We are always excited to share stories such as Georgina’s but especially as International Women’s Day approaches on March 8th. To learn more about Opportunity International Canada, the programs we support and how you too can support women like Georgina, visit opportunityinternational.ca
Opportunity International Canada empowers families along their journeys out of extreme poverty toward new lives filled with strength, hope, resilience and the power to achieve their dreams.