Our unique dialogue based approach to skills training
The layout of a skills centre teaching building .
We have funded the building of three teaching blocks at The STEKA Centre for Vocational Skills and Community Enterprise to provide opportunities for people to get the vocational skills they need to work their way to independent sustainable futures.
We know that very marginalised people need more than practical skills though, and are very proud of the ways in which our unique Dialogue approach means our learners develop the confidence and resources to address power imbalance and inequalities which restrict their opportunities. In this way, we've created a supportive community in which small enterprises can develop and flourish for people who have grown up in poverty and faced other inequalities including gender based violence and exploitation
In addition, our Principal, Mac Kholomana and Director, Godknows Maseko, work in partnership with other stakeholders including the Ministry of Gender, Children and Community Development and other child care organisations to ensure that all the young people taught here will receive guidance and counselling about careers, education, youth reproductive health and social and spiritual issues.
Psychosocial support will relate to orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) and succession planning (particularly important for families dealing with HIV), life and decision making skills, developing resilience, the identification of individual potential and dealing with drug and substance abuse.
The impact will be more people employed in sustainable work, more women empowered and able to work, more effective parenting and family units, children feeling safe and being educated in nursery, fewer young people vulnerable to human traffickers and less crime.
Future funding needs and plans
So that women can attend our training courses, despite the huge barrier of gender inequality, we urgently need to build a women's hostel. Please see our separate page and blog posts on this.
We are developing a Child Care Training Institute/multipurpose hall to facilitate youth forums and community events
In addition to qualifications in community development for youth and children, psychosocial counselling and Montessori nursery care, Godknows and Helen Maseko have 10 years experience in establishing and running successful children’s home for vulnerable children. Godknows heads a network of 42 childcare organisations and Helen holds one of the most senior women’s roles in the Catholic Church. The key to their success at the STEKA care home is their parental role. Their home is run as a family according to clear family and spiritual values (with children without biological parents adopting their surname, Maseko). The childcare institute will provide training for care givers in other institutions to enable them to adopt this more personal, parental model, as well as parenting classes for community members struggling with family life ( a key issue in Malawi where more than 50% live in poverty and 11% have died of HIV Aids ). This approach has been developed to enable orphaned and vulnerable children to receive effective care in communities.
We want to build a Sports Complex
We know that young people living chaotic lives may not opt to engage in education or training but they will gather to play sport and games. By providing sports facilities we hope to attract young people who can then be engaged in learning and develop life skills and resilience. These facilities will also provide much needed activities for the residents of nearby villages (providing a diversionary role in relation to drug and alcohol abuse).
Income for the centre will be generated by:
Fees paid for vocational training courses.
The sale of products including bags, Christmas decrations and aprons in Malawi and Scotland.
International school groups paying to take part in Dialogue Groups run by STEKA residents
Fundraising by STEKA supporters and schools, students and organisations in Scotland inspired by social media content developed through link up with Queen Margaret University.
STEKAskills trustee and STEKA resident, Gift Thompson, has a degree in Public Sociology and is studying an MSc in International Leadership & Business at Queen Margaret University to develop skills to lead the Youth Skills Village in the future.