Next Steps Education Programme
What is it?
The aim of the Next Steps Education Programme is to provide the children with the further education and personal skills necessary to become employable, independent and responsible citizens of Nepal.
In their final year of school, children take the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examinations. Upon finishing these, they undertake a volunteer placement in their home village. When results are published, they enter our Next Steps Education Programme (NSEP) and have the option of taking either an academic or vocational course. For Early School Leavers, they too are advanced into the NSEP where they are encouraged to pursue their interests through taking a vocational course.
We help them to move out into their own flats, where they learn to live, cook and budget for themselves. Our youth officer organises regular social events to ensure they remain actively involved in our community. We are with them every step of the way, counseling them and providing educational support and living allowances for the duration of their chosen course, and thereafter continue to be available to them in a supportive capacity.
Our intention is to facilitate their reintegration into Nepali society and help them develop skills that can aid their families and home communities. Our approach is focused on fostering the following characteristics:
Why is it important?
A family-first organisation, our primary goal has always been to get children back with their families. When reintegration is not feasible, Umbrella is committed to supporting them in our homes until they can stand on their own two feet. The unemployment rate in Nepal is very high and finding employment, even for qualified candidates, is a big challenge. We want to equip our young adults with the skills and knowledge to give them a head start in the search for their career. The Next Steps Education Programme is vital for those without sufficient family support in becoming contributing members of society.
The results so far?
More than 160 youth have graduated through the programme.
The Next Steps Education Programme has proved a huge success so far with Umbrella’s young adults moving out of the homes and finding their own places, often with relatives or friends. Having commenced academic or vocational courses, they thrive under the guidance and supervision of our youth and education team.
They continue to visit us very regularly, update us on their progress, and chat with their friends in the homes. Some also come back to provide guitar and dance lessons to the younger children.
“Umbrella … guides and educates them in the social skills necessary for independent living.”
The youths are in charge of their own futures, but Umbrella guides and educates them in the social skills necessary for independent living. As well as offering advice and direction, we provide them with monthly financial support and help them to budget appropriately towards:
- Accommodation – We support them find a suitable, safe place to live with family, relatives or friends and provide them with basic furnishings;
- Meals – Throughout their time in our homes, the children practice bartering at vegetable markets and learn to cook dal bhat for themselves;
- Travel – During their final years in the homes, the children become familiar with local transport so they are ready to use it by themselves;
“… foster personal development and encourage the youths to be mature, confident and socially conscious”
To develop the children’s social awareness and sense of responsibility, they are given child rights training and may become House Captains or join the youth committee (a forum to discuss issues and organise activities). In the Next Steps Education Programme, we work to promote personal development and encourage the youths to be mature, confident and socially conscious through:
- Motivational Talks – Guest speakers from other organisations give talks on a variety of topics, signed out youths return to share their experiences with younger Next Steps Education Programme members, and college representatives conduct course information sessions;
- Workshops – Our youth take part in many workshops on a variety of topics including ‘saving & spending’, how to have healthy relationships, safe migration & first aid training to name a few;
- Counselling and Individual meetings – Our young adults have regular one-on-one meetings with the youth management team and Child, Protection and Development Officer (CPDO) to discuss their futures, get advice and make informed choices. Our committed youth team visit them regularly to monitor their progress;
- Volunteer Placements – Upon finishing their School Leaving Certificate (SLC), youths engage in a worthwhile volunteer experience (e.g. teaching) where they make a meaningful contribution to their home communities. They are encouraged to continue participating in voluntary activities throughout the Next Steps.
“… the best chance at finding gainful employment.”
To facilitate our youths in becoming self-sustaining adults, we support and provide them with opportunities to have the best chance at finding gainful employment, including:
- Career Counselling – Our youth management team provide them with career advice;
- Further Education Support – Umbrella support all costs pertaining to further education, whether it is taking an academic or vocational course, including admission, tuition, stationery, uniform and other education-related expenses;
- Job Skills Training – We organise CV-writing, interview techniques and job searching seminars;
- Job Searching – Youths are supported in finding scholarships, internships and jobs during and after the Next Steps Education Programme to introduce them to the workplace.