PADF and USAID Celebrate more than 1,100 youth trained in Suriname

Paramaribo, Suriname (August 28, 2015)–The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) announces the graduation of 147 youth from a five-week basic life skills and pre-employment training course in Suriname. To date, 417 have graduated from the five-week course implemented by youth leaders in their own communities. More than 200 youth have secured full-time employment. Since 2013, 1,172 youth have participated in a variety of Kari Yu! sponsored trainings.

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and PADF, the Suriname Youth Development and Juvenile Justice Program, also known as Kari Yu!, brings together public and private partners to support the social inclusion and economic empowerment of youth. Working with the Ministry of Education, PADF developed a 60-hour training course, certified by the Ministry of Education, for youth who have dropped out of school. 

“Kari Yu! guided me in developing my job skills such as communicating, working in a team, collaborating, and how to deal with your supervisor and colleagues,” said 20-year-old Jorginho George, who graduated from the program. He joined the Kari Yu! training because he wanted to develop his skills and wanted a better life for his girlfriend and their seven-month-old daughter. Today, he is working as a security guard at P.P.S Security in Paramaribo.

Youth to Youth (Y2Y) is a component of the Kari Yu! program that gives young people the skills and tools needed to access opportunities in the labor market. Y2Y has identified and trained youth leaders as facilitators and career counselors so that they can implement the basic life skills and pre-employment course to vulnerable youth in their own communities. Under this component, career counselors mentor and coach participants for at least six months after the program to enhance their ability to acquire and retain employment.

The Kari Yu! program also carries out activities to reform and strengthen the juvenile justice system and assist youth offenders to reintegrate into society when they are released. PADF has supported the government in developing and implementing the National Resocialization Plan. Under the plan, Kari Yu! has introduced 30 juvenile justice reforms to the penal code and trained 112 juvenile justice operators to build awareness of new and existing juvenile justice laws related to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the rights of youth. Kari Yu! is also strengthening the capacity of other ministries and civil Society partners that have been brought together as a referral network to support the economic and social reintegration of youth in conflict with the law.

“It’s inspiring to see these young people acquire new skills. Now, they are empowered to support themselves and serve as role models in the community,” said Mr. Christopher Cushing, USAID Mission Director for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean.

Cosponsored by the Ministry of Labor & the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KKF), the graduation will recognize youth from seven communities in the districts of Paramaribo, Wanica, and Para. The communities include Para Zuid, Sunny Point, Winti Wai, Latour, Ephraimzegen, Flora and Centrum. A separate ceremony and job fair will be held for graduates from New Nickerie.

“We thank our partners including the Suriname government, local non-profit organizations, and the private sector; all have been a great support to the program,” said PADF Executive Director John Sanbrailo.