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Malawi, Africa

New skills, new life

Carpentry skills create change for entire family

Child labor is one of the major factors affecting the health, social and academic wellbeing of children and youths in Malawi. To help combat the trend, ARISE provides vocational training to 14 to 18 year olds in Malawi.

David Joseph, now 19, grew up in a very poor family in Msambo Village, Malawi. The family could not afford good shelter, lived on just one meal a day, and could not support the children’s education. David was forced to help take care of his family, and at age 11 he dropped out of school to engage in piece work in fields on tobacco and maize farms. The income he earned supported his family’s access to basic necessities including food and clothing.

We first learned about the shocking story of David in 2013 during child labour monitoring of tobacco fields in David’s village. Through the Child Labour Monitoring System (CLMS) process, David was spotted and withdrawn from child labour immediately. At the time he was unfortunately too old to re-enter the school system, however he was instead counselled and enrolled in ARISE's carpentry and joinery training course at Msambo Community Based Service Outlet Centre.

David performed above average during his training and was selected to work as a carpenter at Terrastone Construction Company. In 2015, Terrastone constructed a Teacher Training College (TTC) close to David’s home, and in early 2016, when construction works finished at the TTC, David joined Prime Construction Company where he is now involved in constructing concrete shutters. During 2014, a total of 89 children were trained in carpentry and joinery at the same centre as David, and 22 of them are now formally employed.

David’s income has allowed him to build a new home for his family. They can also now afford three meals a day and his siblings can attend school. He says, ‘[My] carpentry and entrepreneurship skills have changed my life, and that of my family.’

David is now an ambassador for ARISE and told his story at a World Day Against Child Labor commemoration event attended by Malawi’s President in June 2016.

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