Tooling up for Brighter Futures in Nigeria
How do you prepare young girls to grow up to be self-sufficient adults? By teaching them marketable skills, inspiring them with an entrepreneurial spirit, and providing the tools they need to succeed. In Nigeria, a new Salesian-led program is doing just that, thanks to support from our generous donors.
Last November, missionaries launched the first phase of this five-month program, which trains participants in tailoring and sewing. Initially, they had hoped to enroll 10 disadvantaged girls from Lagos and Ijebu Ode, but as word spread, demand rose. Fortunately, with the funding they received from Salesian Missions, missionaries were able to expand the capacity, and add a second phase that ran through this past July.
“Training girls and young women is critically important to address issues of gender inequality and youth unemployment in Nigeria,” says Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “Girls who can access an education gain an advantage in helping to break the cycle of poverty because they’re better able to support themselves and their families. That’s why we were pleased to make this program accessible for even more participants.”
The program, taught by local teachers with proficiency in and passion for the field, combined hands-on learning with classroom work. In addition to lessons in life skills, they received training in marketing, management, social interaction, and other essential aspects of running a small business. Trainees also completed one-month internships, and received complete start-up kits to help them launch their own tailoring enterprises. They remained under close supervision for the first two months to ensure that they were using the start-up kits in the most effective way.
“Far too often, students who successfully graduate from Salesian-run training programs overcome one major obstacle—access to education—only to face another,” says Fr. Gus. “And that’s the cost of acquiring the tools of their newfound trade. When we can provide those tools, we know we’re also helping set graduates up for their best chance of success.”
Our mission provides a pathway out of poverty for those most in need. What’s your mission?
Learn more about our work in Nigeria.