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Entries in vocational training (1)

Beyond The Classroom

For years, our mission has driven us forward: to equip children in developing nations to reach their God-given potential by creating opportunities for spiritual, physical, social, mental and emotional development.

Over the past two summers, you have helped us address spiritual needs as you wrote out prayers for your child. Last year you learned about the way we address your child’s physical health needs at the project level.

So this summer, as we focus on education and that crucial level of mental development, it may help to think outside the classroom.

As we shared earlier, less than half of our programs are schools who provide formal education. The rest focus on educational activities and support, from field trips to group and individual tutoring if needed.

Yet to continue helping children reach their God-given potential, the educational elements in our programs must venture beyond a blackboard and textbook. Our staff work hard to develop vocational programs – things we call “life skills” such as gardening, barbering, and wood working to help children gain training and experience to help them later in life.

We were thrilled when we saw the fruit of these vocational skills on children in our programs in the Philippines – because of a government-certified sewing program, older students are learning tailoring techniques. And this year they made the uniforms for children in the Happy Horizons Academy.

They created the design and were taught to measure and cut pieces, not using a pattern to ensure the uniforms fit their fellow customers. They are paid per piece, a portion of which is put into their own savings account so when they graduate the program, they have funds set aside to help them on their way.

They also make all the bedding including sheets and pillow cases. They sew curtains for the buildings, make the physical education uniforms, costumes for plays, and nurses uniforms.

Because the program is government-certified, this invaluable experience can help the students get employment at factories or small shops – some are already dreaming of starting their own business!

We’ll share more about other countries and the vocational programs they’ve developed for the older children. We praise God for how he is building the confidence of students in these programs – something especially critical in impoverished areas where educational opportunities are minimal, and vocational options even less.

What do you think of this program? Can you see the pride they students take in their products?