Taking control of their own future

Light for the World beneficiaries rank among Young Africa's top graduates
Photo: Light for the World's beneficiaries were among the top graduates at Young Africa Mozambique in 2017. Photo: Light for the World

- by Iláuda Manala

A total of 30 students with disabilities graduated from Young Africa Training Center in Beira and Dondo, in Sofala Province, in Mozambique, in 2017. The Center, which offers inclusive vocational training, benefits from direct support through Light for the World's programmes, funded by the European Union, and ADA (Austrian Development Agency).

Essita: from Farm Management to Informatics

Essita João, a 23-years-old wheelchair user and third daughter among 7 siblings from a vulnerable family, was the best student in the Farm Management course. Essita says that her graduation is a great step in helping her family overcome poverty: "I especially liked the entrepreneurship module, where I learned how to run a business. My family could not spare a penny for my training, so Light for the World stepped in." 

In fact, Essita has been a beneficiary of Light for the World since adolescence: "Light for the World is my family. Thank you so much for helping me become who I am, my whole life I have received the support of these people. I dedicate this award to my donors for their support and for believing in me and my abilities, regardless of my disability".

Essita Jõao was awarded a new wheelchair and a complete scholarship for a course in Informatics at the Young Africa Training Center.

Janúario José's advice

Janúario José, 23, is a young man with a hearing impairment, the best student of Young Africa's Poultry Farming course. 

"I leave a message for young people with disabilities so that they know that training is the key to the future. After this training, if I can get financial support, I can raise chickens and become an entrepreneur. My dream is to start a poultry business, complete with hatchery and everything, so I can generate income for my family, "Januário says, "It is very good to study and to train, you cannot let yourself down. You have to be perseverant and believe in a better future. I am young African and I now have my certifiate. I have guaranteed my job and my tomorrow."

Januário José was awarded 6 months in an incubator with all accommodation expenses covered.

Unlocking Mozambique's huge potential

Young Africa International Director, Dorien Beurskens, reiterates the effort of the partners to make education more inclusive and comprehensive. She is pleased that most of the laureates are young people with disabilities.

"We are very happy and proud especially because women and disabled are among the best. However, there are still many challenges, and the main one is the level of empowerment of the beneficiaries of inclusive education. Low self-esteem is a major barrier, and there are many more: It is not easy to get the facilities adapted, or to search and find employment. The private sector is not yet too willing to employ these young people. This means that Young Africa and Light for the World have the challenge of creating greater awareness that each disability comes with an extra talent. We are all equal and we are all competent with different talents but in same proportion", director Beurskens said.

Young Africa Training Center offers professional technical courses, promotes entrepreneurship and supports young people in the job market. Courses cover a wide range, from Culinary to Pharmacy Management, Poultry, Accounting, Informatics, and Electricity, all focused on inclusive vocational training. 

With funding from Austrian Development Cooperation and the EU