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Supporting young people to reimagine their futures

Updates • Feb 2022

Living a life with more certainty and security

Here at Toybox we know that once children and young people are on the streets, there are very few options available to them, and they rely on finding work within the informal economy - where working conditions are completely unregulated and earnings low and unpredictable. At a time when countries across the world continue to deal with the fall out of COVID-19 and economies are struggling to recover, our work to support young people with vocational training is more important than ever. Through these projects, young people can learn the skills they need to secure employment opportunities that will enable them to live with more certainty and security. Alongside a focus on training, some of the projects also provide small grants to help young people to set-up their own businesses. This is another path which can support them to move away the streets for good.

Supporting children to have a safer future

Vocational Training is an essential component of Toybox’s approach to supporting Street connected children to have an alternative and safer future- in which they are less reliant on the streets for daily survival. Many young people connected to the streets have missed out on so much education that they don’t feel comfortable going back to school with much younger classmates or have got used to earning an income they rely on. For older children and young people, vocational training is a great alternative to education as it equips them with specific skills they can employ to start their own businesses, work flexibly or gain employment in a sector they have expressed an interest in. Many street connected young people have creative talents which are also a perfect outlet for certain vocational skills. Vocational training is supplemented by life skills and business skills for the greatest impact and the type of training is identified in collaboration with Toybox’s partners and the young people. This is so they enrol in courses they are not only passionate about and/or have shown a particular talent in, but that there are sufficient opportunities for employment or self-employment after training.

Toybox projects in Nepal and Kenya focus on supporting young people on the streets through vocational training - giving them the opportunity to develop technical skills in areas such as hospitality, hair and beauty, catering, tailoring, and mechanics. Young people can these use these skills to help them earn a living, support themselves and their families, or build a small business. Meet Anesh from Nepal and Adamu from Kenya.

Becoming self- supporting

In Guatemala, small grants form a key part of our work and are an invaluable way of enabling young people living a hand-to-mouth existence the chance to establish or grow a small business. In turn, this means that young people on the streets with limited opportunities to earn enough to survive can become self-supporting and self- sufficient. They can live a life where they are no longer forced to beg or resort to becoming involved in dangerous or hazardous labour. Meet Zanthia.

Developing essential skills for life

Life skills training is another key component of Toybox’s work with young people living or working on the streets, many of whom have grown up with limited input from a responsible and caring adult. Through workshops, role play, youth forums and networks, young people are supported to develop essential skills in areas such as decision making, effective communication and personal resilience that are key foundations to support them in their lives.

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