In Switzerland, almost all - 99.6% - of children and young people attend at least compulsory school. Afterwards, they usually complete vocational training or study at a university. In contrast, 9% of the world's population between the ages of 15 and 24 have no basic literacy skills. In addition, 225 million youth in developing countries are not in education, employment, or training. What seems self-evident to us is still not so in many places. That is why Horyzon is committed to education. The focus is on a comprehensive understanding of education. Thus, young people are supported in the topic of education in four different areas:
Access to education
Participants are offered a safe place where they can strengthen their school knowledge through tutoring. In addition, youth with disabilities and/or trauma are assisted in reintegrating into regular school. Building and strengthening school skills has a positive impact on class participation and reduces school dropouts. Take Ruba from the Palestinian town of Illar, for example. Due to a genetic defect, she lives with muscle atrophy, leaving her body impaired and dependent on a wheelchair. This dependency also put a strain on her psychological well-being: She felt inferior, was shy and sad. Her lack of self-confidence and motivation also negatively impacted her school performance. With the support of the rehabilitation program and an intervention plan tailored to Ruba, she was able to accept her disability and thus also improved her school performance.
Training and further education of caregivers such as parents, teachers and therapists ensure quality in dealing with young people. Caregivers are trained to recognize sexual violence and offer young people psychosocial support. Nilson Moreno Hurtado, for example, has completed several such training courses. He is the coordinator of the "Paza la Paz" project in the Colombian city of Cali. He grew up in a neighbourhood of Cali dominated by violence and crime. This, of course, shapes the socialization of the children and tempts them to get involved in illegal activities themselves.
Nilson participated as a youth in activities of social organizations that developed art projects in his neighbourhood and promoted peaceful community coexistence. From his own experience, he knows that education can change lives. For Nilson, education is not only a profession, but also a calling. As the primary caregiver for the youth, he seeks to empower them in their potentials, skills and abilities, and to build confidence. In doing so, he equips them to become agents of transformation themselves.
Through non-formal education in practical life skills such as communication, critical thinking, stress management and healthy lifestyle, our projects make it easier for young people to deal with difficult living conditions. This enables them to choose a more peaceful future free from illegal activities and problematic addictions. Workshops in this area of the education focus, for example, supported Ngbarago Monica Raphael from Yambio in South Sudan. She lives with her parents and siblings in Yambio and is a proud member of the YWCA. In the past, she hardly knew how to deal with her menstruation and used a piece of cloth to catch her bleeding. Then, out of shame that her period might end up on her school uniform, she would stay away from school for several days each month. Through workshops on these topics, Ngbarago Monica Raphael learned, for example, how to deal with her menstruation and the consequences of teenage pregnancy for a young woman's future life. This in turn boosted her self-confidence, as a result of which she now publicly stands by her opinion. She is now engaged in discussions without trembling or feeling ashamed.
The aim of Horyzon’s focus on education is also to enable young people to position themselves better in the labour market and to become financially independent. Vocational counselling, entrepreneurship workshops, job interview training, and craft training prepare youth with and without physical or mental disabilities to (re)enter the workforce. For example, 32-year-old Sophonie J Victor attended YWCA Haiti's vocational training and then pursued her degree in accounting. Since December 2020, she has been working at a school in Port-au-Prince and is CEO of two start-up companies in interior decoration and event planning. She credits YWCA Haiti's workshops with playing a pivotal role in her personal development, saying, "The various workshops have allowed me to build my self-confidence, believe in my own intellectual abilities, and pave the way to financial autonomy. The mentors were always full of passion, ensuring that the knowledge stuck in our minds."