PADF and USAID Celebrate Training of 2,500 of Suriname Youth

Paramaribo, Suriname (October 26, 2016) – The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) announces the results of a three-year Youth Development and Juvenile Justice Program, also known as Kari Yu!, which brought together public and private partners to empower youth in Suriname.

Funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by PADF, Kari Yu! has supported basic life skills, vocational training, pre-employment skills and job placement services to more than 2,500 at-risk youth. Since 2013, more than 1,300 youth have received full time employment, completed an internship, started a business or returned to school as a result of the program.

Dines Paulus, one of the Kari Yu! graduates, who now works at PPS NV security company, shared his testimony at the event. “My supervisor told me that I had been selected for the premium guard training. I thought, WOW! This is nice. One step higher. In the end, I succeeded and received this big golden badge you can see on my uniform. I was really happy.”

The Kari Yu! program included a Youth to Youth (Y2Y) component that trained youth leaders to facilitate a basic life skills and pre-employment course to vulnerable youth in their own communities. After the five-week training program, career counselors mentor and coach participants for at least six months to enhance their ability to acquire and retain employment.

“It’s been a pleasure to watch youth go through the program and take ownership of their own lives,” says Kari Yu! Program Director Carlo Arze. “These trainings have empowered so many young people to reach their goals, while offering tools and encouragement along the way. Now, the future is in their hands."

In order to galvanize the private sector, PADF launched “Open the Door,” a multimedia awareness campaign that called on the government, local industries and vocational institutes to work together to create jobs for young people in Suriname. 

In addition to training youth, Kari Yu! has granted more than USD $800,000 to 26 projects implemented by NGOs in Suriname. Through these grants, Kari Yu! strengthened the capacity of local organizations and provided support and training in monitoring and evaluation, financial reporting, workforce development and effective mentoring for vulnerable youth.

Distinguished guests from the government, private sector and civil society organizations attended the closing ceremony including Edwin R. Nolan, U.S. Ambassador to Suriname; Christopher Cushing, Mission Director for USAID Eastern and Southern Caribbean; and General Development Office Director Mr. T. Lawrence. PADF presented key program results and led a discussion on the future of youth development and youth employment initiatives in Suriname.

Results to date

o        2580 youth have participated in the Kari Yu! program

o        Over 730 youth have been placed in jobs

o        455 youth have completed an internship

o        32 youth started their own business

o        125 youth have returned to school or other training opportunity

o        30 juvenile justice reforms introduced

o        112 operators trained to implement these reforms