In the run-up to last year's Teenstreet, we asked our European teens to fundraise for OM’s Vocational Training Project in Kosovo. Amazingly, this year they beat their fundraising record, collecting more than 86,000 Euros! We decided to catch up with that project, and see how the generosity of the teenagers made a difference.
The Vocational Training Project is for young people between the ages of 12 and 17 who need some help getting employed. Students are given practical help, and many of them are meeting followers of Jesus for the first time.
“The money raised at Teenstreet is the sole reason we still exist,” says David*, a staff member at the centre. “Because of these funds, we’ve more than doubled the size of the school – we have a new building too; we used to have just one room, but now we can run three classes at a time.”
The local schools refer students, so the centre can be sure they are supporting those most in need of their help. Many of the young people have suffered domestic abuse, or perhaps come from a family where nobody works, so it’s particularly important for them to be able to get a job.
The project aims to equip its students with useful skills, through one of four courses: sewing, electrics, welding and barbering.
“The centre has grown really rapidly, so we’d like to add more courses,” David tells us.
There are already between 80 and 90 young people – not only receiving vocational training, but getting support in their maths and literacy. The team members also take the time to visit the families of each student three times a year, giving them the chance to build relationships.
“We’re welcomed into their houses, and it’s a chance to talk and get to know the whole family,” shares David. “Parents really want us to train their kids, and they want to be hospitable to us.”
Part of the training programme involves discussion groups, where a small number of students join a local believer to talk through issues like work ethic, or home violence. At the end of the day, no matter how employable the students are, the team know that Jesus is the one that will make a difference in their lives.
“A common phrase we hear around here is that ‘Kosovo is without hope’,” says David. “We want to be part of giving a generation hope.”
The article previously published by OM UK.