10 Jun Students from Penn State Experiences!
We have had a busy week working on our business and professional workshops. The youth at the center seemed to really enjoy our first two professional skills workshops. During our intro workshop we had the opportunity to get to know the youth better through our goal setting discussion and job skills skits, and were happily surprised at the amount of participation. It was great to hear each youth’s progression and work towards their goals, plus their enthusiasm in the skits really made the night. Our CV (resume) workshop started a bit slower than the first but ended up turning out just as well. The resource identification initially came across as somewhat intimidating to some but as we worked with the youth, each was able to come up with their own list, and by the end they all walked out with their own CVs.
After our first visit to the informal settlement Majengo, the slum of Nyeri, we learned that we had to greatly adjust our business workshops to better meet the needs of the former street girls (our audience). We also learned that we were only able to present two workshops, so we created an intro to business thinking and resource assessment workshop, and a finance workshop with an emphasis on saving. Workshop one went great, everyone participated and seemed to enjoy it, and workshop two will be presented this Thursday. The workshops are presented by Bernard and Mercy, two of the staff at the CYEC, who are fluent in Swahili as well as the local dialect, since most of the girls are not fluent in English. Going through the settlement where the women live is very hard to describe. Most of the “houses” are made up of wood or plaster, each being about the size of a dorm room, but holding an entire family. During our walk to the church where we give the workshops we have to dodge the trash piles, and climb very steep dirt roads. It hammers in just how much we take for granted in our lives back home. But around the rugged parts there are lush vegetation and welcoming locals offering a friendly greeting.
Majengo is the source of many of the children at the Centre so we hope our outreach can be a small piece of the program to improve the home lives of these families so children don’t end up on the street.
It’s crazy that our time here is almost over. It has been a great learning experience, and I hope we have made a positive impact on the people we have been in contact with. To help spread the professional and business skills of our workshops we are currently working on implementing a plan for them to be retaught in the future and by the older youth of the center, as well as making worksheets and informational pamphlets available on the computers of the CYEC.