In northeastern Syria, young people aged 16-24 are learning new skills that they hope will allow them to establish their own businesses and improve their futures.
The Youth Development Centre was opened in Amouda, in the Hasakah Province of north-eastern Syria, in November 2017. Young people who attend workshops provided by the centre are trained in a variety of practical skills and crafts, which include sewing, blacksmith work, healthcare, electrical wiring, air conditioning and refrigeration.
Students who end up graduating from these courses are given the tools and equipment to continue enhancing their chosen craft so that they may apply it in their future professions.
Most of the trainers are university graduates who have also gained experience working abroad and are relaying their knowledge and experience to those in Amouda who have not had the same opportunities. The trainers have also been tested and examined before they are appointed to contribute to the program. The Centre also focuses on providing training to disabled people and individuals related to “martyrs”.
Shirin Suleyman, a trainee at the Youth Development Centre in Amouda, describes her experience there: “I have loved sewing since childhood. I came from Hasakah to here in order to study at the centre. Currently, I live at my aunt’s house and learn here. When I finish, I will return to Hasakah and open a private shop to work and benefit myself and others”
Hussein Kamil also recounts his positive experience at the Centre: “I came to the Youth Development Centre in order to learn about air conditioning and refrigeration. I hope to graduate and receive the kit in order to open a private shop and build a future for myself”.
It is hoped that initiative will be sustainable in the sense that the trainees will receive skills that they may use in the future, as stated by both trainees above.
Similar training programs that focus on vocation and personal development have been launched by various civil society organisations across northern Syria, where the non-governmental sector has been blooming for years.