Courses in the fields of culinary arts, tailoring, car and electrical maintenance were developed to help create opportunities for refugee youth to become self-sufficient and learn new skills.
UNHCR’s partner for education, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), celebrated the graduation of 29 students from the first round of the 2018 Technical and Vocational Educational Training (TVET) programme which ended in October.
Designed by UNHCR’s Education Unit and implemented through CRS, TVET provides hands-on training in the fields of sewing, culinary arts, and general maintenance for refugee and asylum-seeker youth. Courses run over a period of three weeks to three months, depending on the curricula.
Nasteho, a 21-year-old Somali refugee is a successful graduate of the sewing programme. “I did not know anything about sewing, but I was always intrigued by it,” she said. Together with her friend Fawzeya, the two young women approached CRS and registered for the sewing course. “I learned so many things. I even made this outfit I am wearing!” she added.
Displaced youth may lose more than just their homes, they may lose access to skills, confidence and dreams, to name a few. Aware of the untapped potential borne by each individual and the role they play in the prosperity of their communities, UNHCR targeted 100 youth based on a gender balanced approach to help them restart their lives and acquire technical and practical skills.
Nineteen-year-old Ali is the only male graduate of the sewing programme. “People ask me all the time why I did not join the Maintenance programme like the many of the boys,” he chuckled. “But I love fashion and I was hoping for an opportunity to step in to the field.”
Students of the General Maintenance programme learned how to fix appliances such as heaters and exhaust hoods, but this was not the only skill they learned. “We were of different nationalities and we did not know each other. Together, we started developing a shared sense of understanding,” said Mohamed, an 18-year-old refugee from Eritrea.
Initially, Mohamed had hoped to receive technical training in electronics, but the programme could not be made available. “When faced with a choice of whether to attend the general maintenance programme instead or go home, of course we decided to stay,” he said.
“We try to cater to the students’ preferences and provide them with the training programmes they are interested in,” Nouran Aly, Education Associate at UNHCR said. “However, in cases where preferences cannot be met, we search for the closest substitutes. Nevertheless, UNHCR, together with CRS, collects feedback from students in order to try and introduce these courses in future classes.”
In order to enable the graduates to capitalise on the outcome of the TVET programme, CRS provided detailed information on livelihood opportunities and options for taking advanced TVET courses in their area of specialization post-graduation to enhance employability prospects.
UNHCR Egypt’s TVET programme has been running for nearly two years. Courses in the fields of culinary arts, tailoring, car and electrical maintenance were developed to help create opportunities for refugee youth to become self-sufficient and learn new skills, which are vital for them to rebuild their lives and once again become productive members of a community.
Since the beginning of 2018 alone, over 80 young refugee and asylum-seekers have benefited from the courses offered. The last cohort of students is expected to graduate at the end of November.
UNHCR’s support to refugee and asylum-seeker youth is made possible through the generous funding of donor countries, namely Austria, Canada, Denmark, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States of America, in addition to private donors from Australia, Korea, Germany, Spain, Japan, Italy and Sweden.