By Saadiya Hamisu (YES 2017-2018, Nigeria, placed by AYUSA in Nampa, ID)
Youth are regarded as the backbone of every society and the leaders of tomorrow; to me, youth even decide what the future of a community will be. Only when youth become good citizens will we be able to achieve a better society. To reach this goal, youth need to live a healthy and lawful life, which includes being employed. Several NGOs and government organizations in Nigeria are doing their best to address such issues, but Nigeria is a populous country, and more helping hands are needed.
As a young person myself, I know the benefits of being employed. Skills learned and income gained from a job help in taking care of one's personal needs. I decided to think of a way I could give back to my community by helping youth become more employable, and the YES Alumni Grants program was my ticket to doing so.
With a YES Alumni Grant of only $250 USD, I designed a two-week, hands-on training for youth on bedsheet making. Participants, ages 16 to 21, learned three types of bedsheet patterns along with several designs for pillowcases and throw pillows. Information about the program was distributed to the public, and some people volunteered resources, such as a venue at which to hold the training.
All participants were either high school dropouts or graduates unable to further their education due to financial problems. Employment reduces the rate of engagement in criminal activities, so I felt the need for this training was high, as it will reduce their risk of participating in such acts. While ten youth directly benefited from this project, I would say that, on a large scale, the whole community benefited.
The results of the training turned out amazing because the participants had the zeal to learn the skill. They gave it their all and were hardworking. By the end of the training, they all designed demo pillowcases and received grades for their products. One of the participants said she cannot wait to see herself become an expert in bedsheet making. Some of the participants promised to train their friends and other youth in their communities.
In the future, I would like to see these youth become experts in producing quality products according to their customers’ taste. I hope they will share what they have learned with their families and colleagues.
During this project, I learned the importance of cooperation, teamwork, punctuality, and hard work. I even learned more about bedsheet design myself as we all shared ideas with each other during the training.
I would like to extend my appreciation to the YES program for sponsoring this project. I cherish, thank, and value the sponsors of the YES program, the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Many thanks to the management of Umaru Musa Yaradua University for providing us with a venue and sewing machines to facilitate the training. I would also like to thank the DVC Academic of UMYUK Katsina and the Director of EDS UMYUK Katsina for giving us their maximum support towards the success of this training. And, last but not least, I greatly appreciate the effort of my team members.