There are many downsides to growing up in impoverished communities. Apart from unhygienic living conditions, these communities are characterized by high rates of poverty, unemployment and are breeding centers for many social problems such as crime, drugs, alcoholism, and despair. That is why the Children International youth program is geared toward helping the youth steer clear of negative influences and involve them in more positive activities that help develop their values and sense of self-confidence. This is done so that despite the dismal condition in which they live, the sponsored children can strive to make the most of the opportunities that come their way.
Through core programs like leadership training, value formation and skills development the youth find their own voices, figure out their strengths, and pursue what inspires them. This is evident in the spirit of volunteerism shown by the youth of the Bawana slums.
The objective of the Youth Empowerment Fund (YEF) is to promote development of life skills and positive community involvement in the sponsored youth. The Youth Empowerment Fund enhances the planning, implementing and evaluating skills, and the youth often use this fund for betterment of their communities as has been shown by the various community development projects undertaken by the sponsored youth of West Bengal.
Children International-India’s youth program fuels the ambitions of the sponsored youth and encourages them to reach their goals.
Other programs involving the youth include include: Aflatoun; Regular Youth Council Activities, Youth Induction and Graduation, Social Networking, Alumni Association, Youth Leadership Training and the Youth Resource Centers.
Children International’s Youth Councils at all levels are democratically elected by the sponsored youth themselves for a period of two years and different activities are planned throughout by the youth councils to increase youth participation in the program.
Children International created a platform “Alumni Association” for the graduated youth to interact amongst each other and to disseminate meaningful information on careers, further studies etc.
Youth Induction is the process through which children who have completed 12 years of age are inducted into the youth program and start taking part in the various youth development programs that are offered to the youth by Children International.
The youth who complete 19 years of age graduate from the Sponsorship Program and a graduation day celebration is always held in their honour.
Children International has also launched the CI World SAHAY Youth Site for the youth in West Bengal to connect with other youth all over the world and exchange ideas, and learn from best practices of other youth groups.
Youth Leadership training is a life-skill building exercise that the sponsored youth will receive and then replicate amongst their peers in the community. The youth also replicate all that they have learnt from the training in schools to maximise the reach and impact.
Youth Resource Centers developed by Children International are places where the youth use computer with internet services, play indoor games, get information on jobs, careers by using careers journals and magazines available in these resource centers.
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