This year on International Youth Day, we’re joining with the United Nations and many other organizations to celebrate the power of youth in our world! As people who work to empower youth, we have seen the ways support and access to education, job training and mentorship can transform a life.
Youth Day’s 2023 focus is on green skills: pursuing a sustainable world. Shifts toward sustainability are a significant step in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which include eliminating poverty and hunger, working toward gender equality and good health, and many more. Developing a greener world will depend on all of us adopting green skills — “knowledge, abilities, values and attitudes needed to live in, develop and support a sustainable and resource-efficient society.” (UN)
There’s a group of kids in Horizon who have taken an interest in a set of green skills — the aspiring engineers. These children and youth are in Horizon’s care in Kenya, and work together on projects around the Micro Community where they live. The kids range from primary to high schoolers, but they share a dream to become civil engineers.
Baba George, a caregiver in the community, guides the group in their activities and teaches them new skills.
“We realized there is a funny trend in children. A trend of dreaming big in their younger stages and later gradually backing off from them,” George says. “So we want support their aspirations so they don’t wither somewhere along the way.”
He says they’re hands-on kids and always quick to help. The aspiring engineers have developed their teamwork as well as technical skills, both essential for one of their latest projects: building a fence around the community’s bee-keeping farm.
George keeps the boys busy with special projects. One day, he instructed them to inspect a pathway in the micro community that runs from the main gate to the poultry unit and write down their findings and recommendations.
Brighton, a high school student, loves the activities — he sees them as a wonderful opportunity to put into practice his aspirations of one day becoming a civil engineer. Together with his brothers in the micro community, they began working on the apiary fence and the pathway. Baba George gives the boys room to be creative and proactive, and only supports with advice and direction.
“Since I aspire to take civil engineering as I further my studies, I get self-driven to do the repairing of the road and erecting the fencing poles as they will be part of that course,” Brighton said when asked why he does what he does in the micro community.
While these kinds of projects might not be the first things to come to mind when we think about “green skills,” civil engineering can significantly impact the resource-efficiency of communities. One study in the UK predicts the demand for civil engineers to increase by 10% by 2030, with an emphasis on specialties that deal with the environment and sustainability (1).
The aspiring engineers’ journeys won’t end with high school. After graduation, they will still be able to continue in Horizon programming as part of the youth program. They will receive education and vocation mentorship, access to Supported Independent Living, youth clubs, and more, making the transition to adult life smoother and more successful.
Support children and youth to experience rescue, restoration and empowerment, pursue their goals, and live sustainable lives. Visit us on Global Giving: https://www.globalgiving.org/donate/100283/horizon-initiative/