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Vocational Training Program

In this program there are two vocational programs- sewing and computer training.

Sewing/knitting Program:

This program contains both a vocational training component and a community development component. The Education department of the Ruben Centre offers skills and vocational training in dressmaking, while the Community Development department offers a production program, whereby participants use their new skills to produce uniforms and clothes to sell and build their livelihoods

Ruben Centre has run a vocational program for a number of years. Through a dressmaking course, the Centre has been giving high school dropouts, teenage mothers and those who did not go to school at all the skills to join the workforce and make a living for themselves.

Over the years, the program has been revised, going through a major overhaul in order to make the program a holistic experience in which the students will come out well-rounded young people. In a program which originally consisted of solely dress-making theory and the practical applications of that, we saw that the students needed more than just technical ability to 'make it' in the harsh world of the Mukuru slum. Therefore a number of new streams to the curriculum such as English, spirituality, life skills, health science, bead work, physical education, communications and business skills were introduced.

Recognizing the need to have these students graduate as confident, informed people who can communicate their skills to others as well as possessing and demonstrating them, these changes have had an immediate effect. The vocational students are more engaged throughout the day, coming out of their shells and becoming confident in their own persons.

This has been fully enhanced by the introduction of the Vocational training transition program into work place for these students. The Transitioning-students into the work place is an initiative of the HDSTP to facilitate for beneficiaries of the program to transit into the work place by providing a working space, machines and a start-up capital to business proposals put forth by them.

The beneficiaries of the tailoring class are trained on business proposal writing. This assists them translate their own business ideas into a document, which will be used as a pre-qualifier for funding and consequent acceptance to the initiative.

Objectives:

  • Prepare and resource young adults to be economically independent.
  • To give value to the training that young adults are doing.
  • To enable the Centre to live its vision of empowering the Mukuru community.

Case study

Meet Olivia Chebet Maritim, a bubbly girl and full of life. Olivia trained in our vocational training program and she trained on dressmaking, handcraft, crocheting and knitting. But there is something special about her. She is a student from Kenyatta University undertaking a bachelor of art and design degree but I ask why then come to Ruben Centre in a slum setting yet you are in such a high profile institution? Her love for art and innovation prompted her to use search engines to find an institution that would enrich her skills and mould her artistic talent and that's how she found Ruben Centre. Just Google….

Her areas of interest at the university are fabric design, interior design and animation. She however felt the need to have basics in tailoring in order to help her convert her designs in to tangible garments that would contribute in revolutionizing fashion in Kenya. She was also quick to note that it is rare to find tailoring, beadwork, crocheting, knitting all under one roof. The course is helping her practice the theory she is learning from the university. Her dream is to be the next big thing in fashion industry.

Does she feel superior over other girls because she is in university? No. Olivia has a next-door girl demeanor and interacts quite freely with other girls. "I have learnt a lot from my colleagues and applaud them for their courage of trying to make something out of themselves." nonetheless she has a message for the girls. "Life doesn't stop because of your current situation, for you to get something, dream it, believe it and become it. You decide where to go". Her optimism and positivity is almost contagious and I wondered if she ever passed through hardships and as if reading my thoughts she commented. "I was born and grew up in a remote village in rift valley and I have had to deal with serious weight problems that eroded my self-esteem." I was also a slow learner and I had to work extra hard to be at the same level with other kids. I read and collect a lot of motivational books and they have helped transform my attitude and view of life." She applauds Ruben Centre for the variety of skills they are imparting their students with. She acknowledges that these skills with a bit of innovation and creativity can help one become a tycoon because people love art and acknowledge creativity and innovation. Her parting shot: See the world as a black canvas but you are the one to paint it.