Focus on vocational training
16 May 2018
For older children and young adults, the chance to develop skills for the workplace and to learn a trade is a vital step towards achieving these aims and transitioning to a more independent life. It also provides the opportunity to participate in wider society and to become valued and respected members of their communities.
Below are three stories about vocational training from Romania, Peru, India and Bangladesh to demonstrate the profound difference that access to training opportunities can make – most especially in building confidence and motivation to achieve future goals.
Photo: Gabriel Ciribasa, Mădălina's teacher
Mădălina is 19 years old and has both hearing and visual problems. Recently she was transferred to a school where specific methods are used to support the teaching of students with sensory impairments.
In 2015, Sense International Romania initiated a vocational training workshop in digital typography at Mădălina’s school. She has been attending the workshop for two years, and told us about her experience:
“The typography course has opened new horizons for me and had a major contribution in my personal development. During my first encounter with the vocational workshop I felt tiny in front of those machines, so big and important and capable of producing wonderful and eternal things.
I felt afraid at first, but when I finished my first calendar with photos from our activities in the project funded by Sense International, I became aware that this mini-typography feeds my soul. After that, we made leaflets, folders, files, invitations and games for our younger classmates. Although it seems funny, my best friends in the workshop are the punching machine and the binding machine which helped conquer my ridiculous fear of the unknown.
In the future, I want to study psychology - uncovering the mysteries of humanity, and able to help those around me.”
India & Bangladesh
The two-year project ‘Together we can!’, co-funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme, came to an end in March 2018. Focusing on innovative approaches to address the vocational training needs of young people with deafblindness in India and Bangladesh, the project engaged over 300 young people with deafblindness in non-formal education, working with 150 vocational education professionals as well as government ministries to ensure the implementation of sustainable curricula for the benefit of generations to come.
Anjali from India participated in the project. As a child, Anjali’s parents didn't know how to connect with her due to her deafblindness. They believed her to be mentally unwell and left her locked in a room alone while they worked and her siblings went to school.
When Sense International India learned of Anjali, they sent an educator to visit her at home. The educator worked for six months to convince Anjali's family that life could be different for them. Eventually Anjali's mother agreed to attend a meeting with other parents of children with deafblindness and began to understand that Anjali could learn to be independent, to be social and to lead a life outside of the home. Anjali's educator began working at home with her, teaching her and her family how she could look after herself and take part in family chores like cooking and laundry.
Through 'Together we can!', Anjali has benefitted from further vocational training, and now has a small, successful business selling goods from a handcart. Life is unrecognisable for Anjali; from being locked alone in a room, she is now earning a living and taking an active part in her local community.
"I earn 400-500 per day and my dad puts all the money I earn as my savings. My parents are very proud of me and I am happy to be an earning member of my family."
Brisa is 17 years old and has been deafblind from birth. Last year, Brisa took part in a massage therapy workshop implemented by Sense International in her school. The workshop included different techniques to promote wellbeing among clients, including relaxation massage and Swedish therapeutic massage.
Before participating in the 35-session workshop, Brisa was very shy and often required a lot of encouragement. Her family have seen a significant change since she took part in vocational training. Brisa smiles a lot more, spends time with friends, goes out to the shops and participates more readily in community activities. She is also more optimistic and has a desire to move forward with her life.
Thanks to your support, Sense International is able to provide a range of vocational training opportunities for young people with deafblindness like Mădălina, Anjali and Brisa.
First published: Tuesday 18 June 2013
Last updated: Wednesday 4 April 2018