KEEP WALKING -TRANSITION PROGRESSION
- Published: Friday, 10 August 2018 12:27
All the chairs were finally taken and the program begins. Seven young and not so young women were transitioning (no it’s not what you are thinking) but rather from their training program to the big wide world out there.
I was the guest of honor, and of course I am racking my mind about what I can add to the occasion with some great words (high bar) of gratitude to their trainers and to the women themselves and the next generation of graduates also in attendance.
Finally it was my time to speak and up I jumped and talked and acted out the Johnny Walker whisky advertisement.’ In your journey the important step is your next step and not your last. Keep walking. “ Those graduating into the wider world, some with the ‘where with all’ including knitting machines and sewing machines were encouraged to take that next step and keep walking. Your future starts now.
Five other graduates from the weaving program are already in the wider world with jobs so it really was a great occasion.
In talking to them, I referred to my own journey and recalled that is now eight years since I took that next step that landed me at Ruben Centre. I had journey from South Sudan, somewhat bruised and damaged by my failures there and my steps into the new were tentative and some how faulting, yet I can look around in awe at where my journey here at Ruben Centre has taken me and the place.
Long journeys begin with short steps and nothing is completed if we don’t start and this was so with much of the developments in these eight years at Ruben Centre.One part of the Ruben Centre journey is the very program that we were gathered there for. In 2010 there was a small vocation training program in one old dark corrugated shed for girls doing a sewing course of nine months, but it was characterized by failures and drop outs.
Gone forever is the vocation training program, replaced by the Human Development and Skills Training Program (HDSTP) and this name change was much more than a cosmetic procedure. The vision was that the youth lining up for training were in many cases, school dropouts and socially challenged individuals creating an environment which threatened their very participation in life and therefore the focus needs to be holistic in nature and assist these mostly young women mature psychologically, socially, spiritually and educationally. The program has now a broad range of segments including work placements.
Now there are four smart well lit rooms managing to host a variety of programs including sewing and tailoring courses for grade 3 and grade 2 students. Short courses in weaving, sewing machine operation, knitting and bead work for women who just need that bridging training before applying for work in factories or starting up or developing their own business.A huge feature of the HDST Centre is the production unit where the skilled trainers when not teaching engage with production of items.
Production of STOLES FOR ST FRANCIS XAVIER SCHOOL for Graduation are being made ,Also SCARVES FOR ST JOSEPH NUDGEE SCHOOL RUGBY TEAM....is going on now going on achieving two beneficial outcomes, namely opportunity for the trainees to refine their skills while enhancing the financial sustainability of the program.In 2018 the number of youth employed in the transition program has increased to 25 these is due to high production .A KENNIT machine has also
Increased production, the working environment is conducive to all youth and young mothers. Number of young men has raised these is because of the workspace provided to all.Interest free loans initiative has also been of great help to individuals. While seeing and listening to the young women, I marveled at the journey of this HDST program. In a few years it has been transformed and is indeed contributing massively to the Centre’s vision and mission.
I recalled how one of the graduates in her brief speech had said that the best thing she is leaving with is vision. Vision of something beyond where her life is now.
Keep walking girls.
Keep walking staff.
And yes keep walking Ruben Centre.
The next step is the important one. ….. Thanks Johnny Walker
Written by: Br. Frank O'Shea
Director Ruben Centre