Youths4Change

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Youths4Change: Project ENVISION

Bamenda, CameroonBamenda, Cameroon
Year Founded:
2012
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Youths4Change is a community based organization which mentors and empowers youths of all abilities across Cameroon. Our flagship project ENVISION, creates inclusive environments, teaches youths with disabilities entrepreneurial skills and builds the self-esteem of youths living with disabilities.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if youths of all abilities could work together side by side benefiting their communities?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In Cameroon, over 1 million people live with a disability and 80% are youth - these youth face the same factors which cause poverty for others, but also face added disadvantages. Children with disabilities face barriers to education; youths with disabilities face barriers to training and decent work. Most damaging of all, families and communities may think that people with disabilities are incapable of learning skills and working.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Through mentoring, skills workshops and media awareness campaigns, Project ENVISION creates inclusive working environments and builds the self-esteem of youths living with disabilities. The mentoring we provide raises the aspirations of youths living with disabilities to get an education alongside with bursaries. Our skills sessions teach youths with disabilities skills such as craft, entrepreneurial skills and 21st century skills for the workplace. The media campaigns we run via social media and video logs promotes awareness and inclusivity as a national value.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Kum Desmond is a young man, visually impaired, who was brought to SAJOCAH (our main center) in 2004 as a young boy aged 10. Like most of the youth we work with, the center has been his home for as long as he can remember. Desmond is a bright and ambitious young man with dreams, dreams beyond the walls of the home he has come to know. Through Project ENVISION, Desmond is on track to receive a bursary for completion of his education and is receiving mentorship. Desmond is also learning the necessary skills to start an agricultural venture which is his vision. In addition, we have been able to purchase technology which enables visually impaired youths like Desmond to become IT literate.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We currently work with over 200 youths between the ages of 4 and 25. We have enabled over 20 children to go and stay in school, and 80 youths are learning entrepreneurial skills to start businesses. These youths are also receiving training in IT and social media through our media campaigns which enables them to manage and run video logs and social media campaigns. Overall we have enhanced confidence of youths living with disabilities and their perception in the community. At an international level, we were selected by the Clinton Global Initiative University for Project ENVISION. and discussed our project with leading advisors most notably, President Obama’s Special Advisor on International Disability Rights, Judy Heuman.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Over the next 2 years, we plan to launch a state-wide and eventually, a national community outreach to deliver a mentoring and entrepreneurship program for youths living with disabilities. Our goal is to reach over the next 5 years at least 50% of the 800,000 youths living with disabilities across Cameroon.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Our work is currently funded by individual donations and micro grants. Going forward our plan for sustainability is centered around establishing a marketplace for Project ENVISION. Through our marketplace, we will sell the unique craft and other products handmade by our beneficiaries at our skill sessions. This avenue will provide employment and fair wages to youths living with disabilities in Cameroon.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We are the first and only organization working specifically on employment issues and stigmatization facing youths living with disabilities. Most organizations working in this area focus primarily on school bursaries and donations. Our approach gives youths with disabilities a voice and instead of giving them fish, we teach them how to fish.
Team

Founding Story

In 2012, Madelle graduated from LSE with a dual degree in Law and Anthropology and decided against following a traditional career path. She stepped out on a leap of faith with a vision to empower and mentor youths of all abilities across Cameroon and Youths4Change was born. Motivated by the belief that the ability of youths with disabilities to take part and advance within any society depends on their full participation in the political, social, and economic realms, Madelle’s first project was Project ENVISION. Madelle’s aim is to spread the message through Project Envision is that – Disability is not Inability.

Team

The team is led by the Executive Director supported by a Finance and Accounts officer. We also have a Business Development officer, External relations officer, Media and IT officer. Project ENVISION is run by a Program Manager and Program Assistant who are supported by volunteers. Our team members are mostly part time but we hope to recruit more full time as we raise more funds. Our Board is diverse and made up of seasoned professionals.
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