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For some years, SGS has been supporting Terre des Hommes Suisse, and its partner, SPAN (Society for People's Awareness), in an innovative project aimed at helping young people resume and complete their compulsory educations, providing them with access to vocational training and involving them in improving living conditions within their communities.

SPAN (Society for People's Awareness) group

The project’s objectives are:

  1. To ensure that 600 children, 60% of whom will be girls, will resume and complete their education through the formal Open Schools system
  2. To ensure that children and youths participate in the promotion and protection of their rights
  3. To facilitate the integration of 1,600 youths into meaningful employment

Alongside this project, SPAN works with communities to defend the human rights of young people and is particularly engaged in the fight against child labor and in providing access to education.

Through the SPAN scheme, every year around 30 young people launch their own micro-enterprises, using credit loans provided by SGS.  A revolving fund is distributed among the candidates, to help them launch their own businesses once they have completed their vocational training.

The majority of these entrepreneurs are succeeding in business, with their incomes increasing sufficiently for them to invest in savings as well as infrastructure. Some have also created job opportunities for others completing their vocational training through the SPAN training unit. These young adults have become role models in their community. Here is one of their stories:

Sakir Ali
Sakir Ali

 

Sakir lives in Kamarhati in the Parganas district of West Bengal. His father earns a daily wage, and he has nine family members, who live in a rented house with basic amenities. After he completed his basic education, Sakir received vocational training in mobile phone repair. On completion of his training in 2013, he started repairing mobile phones from his home.   

In January 2014, using a revolving fund of INR 90,000 (CHF 1380) from SPAN, Sakir opened a small mobile phone repair shop on the roadside of Kamarhati. After six months, he was able to increase his monthly income and was able to repay his loan with interest. He also managed to support his brother in completing his vocational training in air conditioner (AC) repair, which led to his brother becoming employed by an AC manufacturing company.

From his income, Sakir contributes INR 7000 (CHF 107) to his family and he saves INR 4000 (CHF 61) each month. His shop now has a value of INR 150,000 (CHF 2307) and has become an asset.

In less than five years, Sakir has turned his life around and is an inspiration to others. Not only has he become a respectable and successful businessman, he is able to support his family, has taken on two trainees and has purchased land on which to build his own home.  

More information at https://www.terredeshommessuisse.ch/en/page/education-disadvantaged-children-n1177