The orphan crisis in Africa is entering a new stage of urgency. In addition to the fact that there are now nearly 16 million orphans, the age of these orphans is another critical factor. The epidemic is entering it’s 20th year and many of these orphans are aging out of the support programs they were once in. They go out into a world with very few opportunities. Boys without job options may grow frustrated and turn to drugs or gangs. Girls with no options often turn to prostitution, and the vicious cycle repeats.
Ujamaa, along with St. John’s Pumwani, is pioneering a new approach to helping this vulnerable group of young Kenyans. We start by Placing Older OVC’s in community apprenticeships which provide skills training and employment in their own communities. We are finding that this model is much more effective then costly vocational training/starter kit model that very often don’t result in successful self employment.