The applicability of vocational training to the adult lives of orphaned and vulnerable children: case study of Graduates of S0S children's Village; Nairobi, Kenya
Haji, Miiraj I
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The growing number of homeless/street children is a phenomenon faced by every country all over the world and according to a report by UNICEF, this number stood at staggering 100 million in 2009. This growth in number is contributed by many children, especially in Sub- Saharan Africa, losing their parents to HIV/AIDS. As a result of the parents dying from this disease, these children are then taken in my other relatives who either neglect or mistreat them hence forcing the children to run a way and fend for themselves. Other contributors to the growth in number of Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) are due to their parents using drugs therefore abusing their children while under the influence. Another major contributor is poverty which forces some parents to either force the child to go begging or simply fend for themselves as the parents can no longer take care of them . One of the major ways countries around the world have adopted to curb this problem is through the introduction of children's homes where these abandoned kids are put under the care of adults who feed, shelter and provide 'Some sense of family for them. There are quite a number of these homes in Kenya which are run by many stakeholders like the government, private individuals, religious institutions and both local and international NGOS. The study focused on the 50S children's village and more specifically the Vocational Training center in Buruburu Nairobi. The purpose was to sample a total of 30 both current and former students in order to find out what their backgrounds were, what they studies and whether the training they received was helpful in getting them a job. Data for the study was obtained from primary and secondary sources. Primary data was collected using a questionnaire administered through face-to-face interviews for the sampled students and key informants were purposively sampled from the teaching staff and current employers of the former students and they were interviewed using an interview guide. The study findings confirmed that the current students were happy about the training they received and they were hopeful of getting a job. They also confirmed that the center provided adequate theoretical and practical lessons which were very relevant to what they studied. As for the former students, they praised the school for the skills it instilled in them and it was confirmed that almost all were employed due to the vocational skills they were taught. Majority of the former students were self employed and for the three that were currently working for companies, their employers confirmed that they were highly trained and very good at their jobs. Although the general consensus among both current and former students was that the center was very good in teaching them a skill they could use to make a living, the students had few recommendations for the center like establishing a placement office to help students in getting jobs sooner, partnering with the government so that recognized examining bodies like KNEC can provide them with recognized certificates and finally for the school to do more in taking in more poor students who could not afford the fees. The study recommends that the school should become more financially independent and rely lesson donors to fund their programmes and sponsor their students. One way it can achieve this goal is through aggressive marketing so that many more people know the centers' existenceand renting out extra space to other universities who would like to branch out of the CBD,this gives the Vocational center an opportunity to raise more money. There is also a need to partner with the government so that the courses offered are examined by a recognized body like KNEC. Another way the government can assist this center is by hiring for them teachers and giving the students job opportunities.