River of Life is a wholistic ministry that is changing the landscape in Malawi. Here are some of the ways our partnership makes a difference.
Among the estimated 16 million population of Malawi, one in every two people is aged below 20. Thus, Malawi has a youthful population. Currently, the youth face diverse problems. As such, their transition to adulthood needs to be understood in the larger developmental context. Social inequalities, low education, homelessness, gender discrimination, widespread unemployment, weakened health systems, forced child marriages and early pregnancies as well as drug and alcohol abuse, crimes and prostitution are the realities within which young people grow. Worth special mention is the HIV and AIDS pandemic, which has virtually made today’s adolescents a generation growing up with the disease. The trading centres in Phalombe district are becoming a beehive for young sex workers, who are running away from their homes due to poverty, hunger and lack of any skills in order for them become economically empowered. These problems are very much preventable and rectifiable if efforts are well coordinated. Human trafficking is also increasing among young girls and boys in Phalombe district. These girls and boys are being trafficked to the neighboring country, Mozambique, where the girls are being forced into prostitution. While the boys are being forced to work in tobacco farms and mostly going many months without being paid. The girls and boys who are being trafficked into Mozambique are aged between 13 – 20 years old.
Since the majority of the Malawi population is youthful, investing in young people in terms of education, vocational skills and health could result in an increased share of working-age adults in future.
At the Youth Skills Development Center, we shall be empowering the youth through the following approaches; provision of computer skills, carpentry, tailoring, welding, tinsmith, hair dressing, home craft, plumbing, electrical installation, painting, brick laying and training the youth in other social issues like human rights, girls’ rights, involving the youth in sports activities like football and netball. In terms of improving their health, the youth shall be accessing Youth Friendly Health Service (YFHS) at the Health Centre which is being managed by ROLIFE. Through the YFHS, the youth shall be able to access counseling, family planning, health talk sessions for the prevention of HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections. The Youth Development Centre shall also be used to rehabilitate the young sex workers, rescued boys and girls and provide them with vocational skills.
Every gift of $50 gives a youth the opportunity to be placed in the Youth Center.