Kari Yu Graduates Eager to Put Vocational Skills to Work

youth accepting certificatePARAMARIBO— At-risk youth in Suriname are benefiting significantly from the United States Government’s USAID-funded Kari Yu Youth Development and Juvenile Justice Program, implemented by the Pan American Development Foundation.  Today, more than 100 youth graduated from the Kari Yu program, equipped with life skills and vocational training.  The new skills the graduates have acquired from the program will significantly increase their employment potential and ability to contribute to their communities and countries.

Today’s graduation brings the total number of program beneficiaries to more than 1,300.  To date, 400 graduates have been placed in jobs, 26 started their own businesses, and more than 90 returned to school or are pursuing other educational opportunities.  The program seeks to place youth on more productive pathways by expanding employment and educational prospects.  It provides vocational and life-skills training, as well as internship opportunities for vulnerable youth between the ages of 15-24 in an effort to enhance personal development while contributing to the development of their country.

During an address at the graduation ceremony, United States Ambassador to Suriname, Edwin Nolan, commended graduates for their commitment to improving their lives and pursuing higher goals, despite having faced various personal challenges.  “With increased skills you are broadening your options, exploring opportunities for advancement, and seizing new opportunities.  I also hope this experience has given you more confidence as role models for other youth.  I know that the U.S. Government, through USAID, is very proud to support your transformation into productive adults who will contribute to Suriname’s future development,” he stated.

Ambassador Nolan noted that the support of local partners contributed significantly to Kari Yu’s success and would be vital to the continuation of the program in the future.  A ceremony high point was when several youth provided direct testimonials about how their lives were significantly impacted by the three-year program.