Through our work within the orphanages we saw a need and were inspired to open the Hope Hub in our city and to start an Apprenticeship Programme.
Through our work in the older boys’ home, we got to know a group of young boys and men. We became aware of an issue that many of them were facing, which was that, having experienced various traumas and instability, many of them found it hard to engage with the education system. In the first home we worked in, this age group (12-18 years old) only one of the boys was still in school. Without the much needed structure and support many of these boys had fallen into harmful habits.
In an attempt to build up a protective wall around themselves, these young boys and men often found themselves having fights, and so at a young age were covered in scars and tattoos, including tattoos on their faces and hands. In a strict Islamic culture, a lack of education and the appearance of these young men meant that finding any work was extremely difficult. At 18 these young men leave the orphanage system with no family support to find work, meaning that these young men can sometimes find themselves homeless and falling into crime as a way to survive. Often young men with these experiences end up in and out of prison and trapped in a cycle of increasing hopelessness.
In meeting these young men we realised that, if people could see beyond their scars and tattoos, they would see that they have much to offer and contribute to society. So we decided to open a new centre in the heart of our city, which would hold events and be a community hub (see section on Hope Hub). The Hub would also have the dual purpose of operating as a coffee shop,which would be a place where the young people can come and be trained and gain experience to open up more job opportunities.
We have an excellent member of staff who oversees a mentorship programme and who is passionate about working with these young people to achieve the best possible futures. As we are working with individuals, what this looks like differs from person to person:
● Some of the young men found themselves in temporary accommodation but with no lifeskills unable to look after themselves. We gave them cooking lessons and trained them in how to keep their house clean.
● Some of the young men found themselves homeless, we then had to step in and help find them accommodation.
● For all the young people we work with we want them to think about positive steps they can take to work towards a better future. We help them set goals for themselves and, working with us, they are coached for work readiness.
So much of this is able to happen through trust that has been built in the years we have spent previously working in the orphanages.