The municipality of Ecatepec is characterised by high levels of poverty and violence. Young people represent 25% of its population; almost half (46%) live in poverty or extreme poverty, 44% are unemployed or do not have stable jobs, and 34% of those completing upper secondary education lack basic reading comprehension skills, demonstrating the poor quality of education available to them. Moreover, the education they receive is not relevant to their lives—they receive insufficient knowledge and skills that are not linked to the labour market needs, creating a significant disconnect between school and work. Many young people in Ecatepec lack life goals and a plan for achieving them; and exhibit low levels of socio-emotional development.
The context described above coupled with unequal educational and employment opportunities are a formula for violence, unemployment and continuing poverty for young people and prevents them from fully enjoying their rights. Seraj proposes a programme to address the above and thus reduce risk factors and improve the chances of employment and school continuity among marginalized young people in Ecatepec.
Servicios a la Juventud A.C. (Seraj) was created in 1985 to help young people between the ages of 13 and 29 access more and better opportunities for education, employment and a life free of violence. Seraj has four strategies: Education, Employment, Citizen Security, and Citizen Participation. It also advocates for recognising young people's rights including the design and implementation of public policies in their favour. Moreover, Seraj participates and leads networks at a national and local level, such as Alianza Jóvenes con Trabajo Digno (JTD), Red Global Jóvenes Oportunidad (GOYN), Red Yo Soy Joven and the Observatorio de la Juventud en Iberoamérica (OJI). Since its inception, Seraj has stayed true to its mission, adapting its interventions to respond to the realities of young people, who are the DNA, ethos and central focus of the organisation. Seraj has a national presence through partnerships with other organisations and has been recognised nationally with numerous awards.
EMpower's first grant to Servicios a la Juventud (Seraj) will replicate its "Conexión Aula Trabajo (School-Work Connection)" program in a new location, Ecatepec, to increase the employability and education prospects of 160 marginalised young people between the ages of 17-24 (75 young women, 75 young men and 10 non-binary). Through the program, young people from two vocational high schools will strengthen their core-life skills and participate in job training. Seraj will provide program graduates with access to continued education and/or job placement support and mentoring. Seraj expects 75% of the programme graduates to access a job and/or school continuity. In addition, this grant will support the institutional strengthening of Seraj in human resources.
Primary Location: Ecatepec, Mexico
Funded Since: 2023
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