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Children are equipped for adult life and the labour market

SDG: 8. Decent work and economic growth

An important part of social inclusion, wellbeing and tackling poverty is economic participation. All children should therefore be considered stakeholders in economic activities with an understanding of their potential and vulnerabilities, and be given information about work opportunities. Children, especially from marginalized groups, should be trained and supported to enter the labor market and allowed to work in ways that respects and supports them, their rights, safety, development and education.

Lyuben Georgiev founded the “Re-Act Association” to help previously institutionalized children and young people with a criminal past in Bulgaria to integrate into society socially and professionally. In a correctional boarding school he provides youths with practical workshops and social skills training.

Yvan Bayisabe and Fredrik Mosis have started VIBRO to fight against the barriers young people face. They are mentors, provide project work and organize internships, thus engaging and empowering young people, resulting in an increased level of motivation to actively participate in society.


entrepreneurs in our portfolio work with different solutions to equip children for adult life and the labour market.


children and youth were better equipped for adult life and entering the labour market, through interventions carried out by Change Leaders in Latvia, Norway, Russia and Tanzania.

Case: Young Folks

Thought partnership helped Young Folks design a financial model to enable sustainable scaling. Youth emigration in Latvia is higher than in any other OECD country. Among those who graduated between 2002 and 2009, one-third are no longer living in Latvia in 2014. Change Leader Aleksandrs Morozovs on the troubling statistics: “Young people do not see opportunities in Latvia. It has to do with lack of jobs and low salaries, and also with the feeling of being part of a society where self-realization is neither encouraged nor enabled. It starts with the education system where students sit at their desks for 12 years and listen listen listen... Creativity, independent thinking and individuality are suffocated.”  Aleksandrs is the founder of Young Folks that empowers teenagers to organize training, workshops and events within their passions, and invite other teenagers as well as adults to participate. Alex explains: “The goal is to help youth explore and develop their interests and skills with the purpose of finding a line of work that they enjoy, and one where they can fulfill their potential.”

2016 was Aleksandr’s second year in the Incubator. He explains: “During this year we have seen the opportunity and need to open up centres in the suburbs, so that young people can access our activities without being dependent on getting a ride from their parents. To succeed with this expansion, we needed to come up with a sustainable financial plan for how to cover the additional expense.” Aleks reflects: “Before Reach for Change, Young Folks did not think about money at all. Everything we did was offered for free and we could not imagine how to charge for our activities. Quarterly reporting to Reach for Change about our financial status triggered a shift in mindset, and a thought partnership throughout 2016 has contributed to us having a clear idea of how to finance our growing operations; we charge the adults enough to cover the expenses for the young participants and we need 80 paying adults per club.”

After only one month of these marketing efforts, 102 adults had been recruited. In all of 2016, revenues more than doubled from 25 000 to 58 000 US dollars, and the number of children supported increased more than four times from 134 to 550. In recognition of ‘high quality work and successful cooperation with the municipality’, Young Folks received the Golden Partner, the most prestigious prize awarded by Riga municipality to organizations working with young people.


“Before Reach for Change, Young Folks did not think about money at all. Everything we did was offered for free and we could not imagine how to charge for our activities."

– Aleksandr Morozovs, Young Folks

Case: Vratsa Software Community

Vratsa Software Community helped 231 Bulgarian young people become more employable. In Vratsa - the poorest city in the European Union's poorest country - there are almost no functioning large businesses, educational levels are low and the entrepreneurial spirit is lacking. This shortfall of opportunities for professional development and employment causes young people to leave the area and as a result of this continuous drain of brain power and ambition, Vratsa is trapped in a vicious cycle of underdevelopment.

Co-founders Emiliyan Kadiyski, Teodor Kostadinov and Iliyan Dimov run Vratsa Software Community. They cultivate an IT sector in their hometown by attracting IT companies and providing technical education through 9-month coding courses and free events. During 2016, the organization trained 231 young people to improve their coding skills and become more attractive on the labour market in order to get well-paid and challenging jobs within the IT sector. In 2016, the three co-founders of Vratsa Software Community were also selected for the Forbes’ list of 30 Social Entrepreneurs Under 30 in Europe.

Impact story: Akinbalo

This story is told by Tesfanesh Tadesse, one of our Change Leaders in Ethiopia who supports teenage mothers and street mothers who have no access to employment or health services - by providing counselling, vocational training and employment through the baking and selling of injera.

Why don’t you lie down, you’ll give yourself back pain’. Tesfanesh Tadesse says to 8 month pregnant Dereratu.  Dereratu smiles and shakes her head as she continues working.  ‘Poverty is back pain’.

When Tesfanesh first met Dereratu she was sitting, crying outside a church in Addis Ababa. She had been living on the streets for a week, having fled her home in rural Ethiopia, where she was destined for an arranged marriage with an abusive man. Since escaping to the capital for a better life, she had been abused by her uncle’s wife, and raped by a man who promised to find her alternative accommodation. Soon after, she discovered she was pregnant. Left pregnant and alone in a new city with no home and no loved ones, and terrified of what could happen next, Dereratu was suicidal. It was at this point, crying outside the church, that she met Tesfanesh, who offered to help her.

She joined Akinbalo, an organization which empowers young mothers living on the street to build a better life, providing them with skills and employment.  

Through Akinbalo, Dereratu was given counseling and training in vocational skills and she learned how to bake injera, traditional Ethiopian bread. She’s now  earning 2,000ETB a month, enough to rent her own home. 

Two weeks ago Dereratu also gave birth to a healthy baby girl, with Tesfanesh by her side.  Where she previously had no hope, she is now excited about the future. ‘I want to continue my education and go to university alongside baking injera. I want to give my daughter the best life possible.  "I will train her to be independent and have a mind of her own".

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