by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
Once a high school dropout, Kimron Cato of Bonaire, St Mark says he now has renewed interest starting his own plumbing business after participating in the UNDP-funded youth project, Fostering Level-Headed Youth (Project FLY).
Cato and 19 other young men and women were among participants within the St Mark parish who completed their training in basic plumbing techniques.
The project was developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth, Sports, and Religious Affairs and implemented on the backdrop of providing training in soft and direct skills to ‘at-risk youth.’ Training in Life Skills, Literacy, and Numeracy was also incorporated into the programme.
Cato who was among participants that excelled throughout the programme believes the life skills learned will positively impact his life.
“Since I started the programme, it was a blessing in my life because before I could not communicate with people properly and being in that class it [taught] me a lot whereby [I] can communicate. There was a point in my life where I got expelled from school, but since I joined that class I am now at a higher level because I am now more motivated.”
Plumbing Instructor Kerabi Phillip says despite having only a few weeks to teach the basics in plumbing, the group managed to learn the trade very easily. “What I taught them was the basics in plumbing whereby they can fix anything in their household or the community, and I am confident that they can make a livelihood for themselves.”
As part of their training, the group had to install a kitchen sink at the residence of Catherine Cornwall who lost her home in a fire 5 years ago. The St Mark resident says she is grateful for the assistance given by youths involved in Project FLY as she struggles to rebuild. “We still need a little help because we have bits and pieces to do still. We have 2 rooms to complete and as they are doing the bathroom now… I am very grateful and thankful for the help they are giving me.”
Youth officer for St Mark, Jossel Waltris says the group not only got the opportunity to practice what they have learned in the classroom, but was also able to provide relief assistance to Cornwall. “One of the participants had selected her because she really needed the help, and when we went to her she was delighted because she had requested help before and did not receive it.”
With funding provided by UNDP in the amount of USD$30,000 Project FLY was the first at-risk youth pilot project of this nature implemented in Grenada.