Areas of Focus: Livelihoods

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EMpower envisions a future in which young people can readily access the training and opportunities they need to find or create decent work.

The largest wave of young people in history – 1.7 billion strong – will enter the global labor force over the course of the next decade. An estimated 85 million young men and women are currently unemployed, representing close to half of all the unemployed worldwide.

Chronic poverty passes from one generation to the next, unless young people acquire the tools and have the opportunity to earn a living wage. Work is not only critical to survival, it helps define who we are and enables us to contribute to family and societal well-being. For youth who are unsuccessful at obtaining gainful employment or income, the potential consequences include poverty, alienation and involvement in high-risk activities. Alternatively, the prospect of earning an income creates a sense of economic independence, self-esteem and purpose that empowers youth to look to the future.

To maximize and create additional opportunities for decent, dignified work for at-risk young people, EMpower supports local organizations that enable young people to develop a range of intellectual, technical, practical and social skills.

Our aims are to:
  • Enhance employability and job-readiness
  • Increase financial literacy
  • Help young people build assets such as saving for the future or accessing microcredit where appropriate
  • Prepare youth to grow their potential through self-employment, entrepreneurship or vocational skills
  • Open new horizons, such as training in nontraditional fields like construction work for young women


Our Grantee Partners’ Work in Livelihoods

Know One, Teach One (KOTO), Vietnam

The number of children and youth on the streets in Vietnam, particularly in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, is a pressing issue. Young people end up on the streets after escaping broken families, domestic abuse, or as a means of earning an income for their families. They are left without necessary care or support, and are often vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. An ‘invisible’ population, these young people are the hardest to reach.

Know One, Teach One (KOTO) seeks to empower street and at-risk youth in cities and rural communities to live a life of dignity and independence. KOTO encourages youth to join a 2-year residential training program in hospitality, which combines vocational skills with personal development, and offers participants the opportunity to work in hotels and restaurants after completing the program. Through their Social Enterprise, KOTO run 2 restaurants and catering services that students can train and work at. Youth also gain financial literacy, education on sexuality, and English language skills.

Read more here!

Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.