Youth Centers – Improving skills and independence

The Hope For Children Fund gives financial and technical assistance to Youth Centers in Addis Ababa that provide educational assistance to older youth, particularly youth who face the transition from sponsorship to independence after the age of 18.

The Youth Centers we support provide critical educational assistance and skills training, as well as a safe place to gather and build caring and supportive relationships with peers and teachers. We believe the Youth Center model is one that can be replicated throughout Addis Ababa to help bridge the education and skills gaps that exist today.

We work with teaching staff and Center directors to support the following activities:

English: Without English language skills, children and youth in Ethiopia are at a serious disadvantage when taking the national exams which are primarily given in English. Youth Center students progress through multiple levels of English classes with the goal of achieving basic English proficiency.

Tutoring: Regular tutoring sessions are offered for students as students prepare for the national exams, university preparatory school, and university.

Computer Literacy: Youth Center students also take computer classes which include learning basic typing and computer skills essential for life in the 21st century. More advanced classes in programming and computer maintenance are also available for those who have a particular interest.

Art: Art classes at the Youth Centers are an important way for the youth to express themselves and enjoy a rare extracurricular activity. Every summer, students exhibit their art at the National Theater in Addis Ababa, and Ethiopian television has featured the students and their work.

Life skills: In addition to its regular class schedule, the Centers serve as forums for discussions and youth clubs. Outside speakers regularly address topics such as healthy relationships and gender issues, HIV/AIDS prevention, dental care, and hygiene and health.


Youth Center Spotlight

Tamiru joined the sponsorship program after his mother became very ill and bedridden, forcing Tamiru to support the family as a shoe shine boy on the street. He was not able to attend school regularly and was receiving very poor marks.

After sponsorship began, Tamiru’s mother received help from the organization’s home based care volunteers which enabled her to regain her health and begin working again. Tamiru was able to return to school full-time and studied hard at the Youth Center after school and during the summer. Tamiru received school uniforms and materials that his mother had previously not been able to afford and attended tutorial classes for the national exams. His high marks earned him a place at Mekele University.

Tamiru recently graduated from university with an accounting degree and a GPA of 3.2. Upon graduation, he was offered a position at the Ethiopian Commerical Bank and is now launched in his career. The success of Tamiru and students like him has had a dramatic effect on the younger students at our Youth Center who are working hard to follow in their footsteps.