Youth Empowerment Skills (YES!) Boys
Quetta, the capital of Balochistan, is the largest centre for automobile spare parts and carpet weaving in the province. Child labour is widely practised in these workplaces; children also work in garbage depots and homes. Many of the boys are Afghan refugees; most are paid between Rs 5 and 10, much less than $1 a day. Since young boys at work are often the victims of physical, sexual and drug abuse, training in self-protection and life skills are as essential to their wellbeing as emotional health and counselling services.
Rana Gulzar, Project Manager of AMAL’s YES! Quetta project, has an unusual range of experience. He has worked on capacity building and health education in 70 districts of Pakistan with approximately 300 NGOs/CBOs. His work on peer education with working boys in Quetta has won him two awards: from the Goi Peace Foundation, Tokyo and the World Peace Prayer Society. A documentary on his life and work, “How Can Youth Work to Stop AIDS around the World?” made by EDC (Health and Human Development Programs), USA was shown to 2,500 delegates at the Youth Employment Summit in India in 2003.
How the programme works:
- The programme targets boys between the ages of 10 and 17.
- Boy labourers are selected and trained as peer educators. They receive life skills instruction which they then pass on to other young people in the same situation.
- Training includes self-protection, assertiveness training, and knowledge of the child rights’ convention.
- Drop-in centres provide emotional health and counselling services.