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Apeldoorn, the Netherlands
Young Africa combines vocational training with the foundation of new businesses and thus enables young Africans to support themselves and to take on responsibility for their communities. In its centres in Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia, students and business people come together from various regions. The training the organisation offers mainly focuses on technical, agronomic and commercial fields, with graduates receiving assistance in setting up a company.
The centres’ activities are based on the following ten two-letter words: ‘If it is to be, it is up to me’. Above all, the centres concentrate on enabling people to take responsibility for their own lives. This is linked to the belief that, in addition to vocational training, mental and emotional skills are also essential to a meaningful life.
Courses usually last between 6 and 12 months. Most of this time is dedicated to practical learning, with students only spending about 30 per cent of their time in the classroom. Some centres have developed a particular focus, such as ecological agriculture in Mozambique or green construction in Namibia. Nevertheless, all of the centres give things back to the community through their youth clubs, internet cafes, libraries or restaurants. Art and sport also play an important role and the centres regularly organise festivals that are always accompanied by educational events. They also have dormitories for girls, which are particularly used to provide a home for orphans. The centres also have nurseries so that young mothers can conduct vocational training. 83 per cent of graduates are now in a position to feed themselves and their families; 32 per cent work as freelancers.