Education is one of the primary focuses we have for our older boys. Due to their late start, most of them will not finish their basic education before 22 years of age. We created a "Get skills 2 work" project, where the boys ages 16 and up can start to work for three hours per day. While working in the factory, all of the young men go to school in the evening to finish their education. The main objective is to mentor and train ex-street kids as they make the transition from living in a shelter to having an independent adult life. Along with the help from us, the boys built a block factory from the ground up. During the construction phase, and now as we produce blocks, we walk alongside these young men as they grow into adult life.
Our goal is to teach them the basic skills and work ethics needed for whatever they will choose to do in the future. Day-to-day we help them through their individual challenges, from their complicated relationships within their families to challenges at school. The setbacks these guys have encountered over the past years have at times been devastating, but their successes have brought so much joy! As we continue to work alongside them, we can see more and more restoration in their lives.
Our career development program has been in operation for over 5 years. In addition to building blocks and doing ground keeping, we are looking to expand the program to include raising livestock, shrimp, and possibly even growing crops for profit. This expansion could be made possible with the purchase of a new site, and would allow us to fund their wages in a sustainable way.
This project was started and implemented at the YWAM Recife base, where it was known as "Josef Project." As soon as we move to the new site, our team from "With Open Arms" will start and implement the same project in the new community.