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“WORK 4aLiving” program overcomes poverty with job training and discipleship

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The global DNA network is composed of people who see a problem, consider what God’s Word has to say about it, and address it in practical ways according to their own God-given skills and resources. This process has borne remarkable endeavors around the world like The Ashish Centre and Let Her Live in India, Fundación Amalos in Colombia, Instituto Um27 in Brazil, and the Youth Empowered Network in Uganda, to name a few.

Siya Sebenza (“We are working” in Xhosa, a local African language) is the nonprofit organization that operates WORK 4aLiving Centers which empower people to help themselves economically and work to a standard of excellence.

In South Africa, Ena Richards had been working in the business sector and was frustrated by the lack of work ethic and development in the local workforce. She also was heartbroken at seeing young adults leaving school only to enter the workforce unprepared: no networking contacts, no knowledge of how to find a job, and no family members to guide them. Her pastor had been preaching sermons using ideas from Discipling Nations, so Ena picked up the book to read it, considering how those ideas might apply to her community.

Ena (above) spoke with people trapped by poverty and with employers, and she concluded that what was needed was strategic job training, starting with a biblical worldview.

Ena recognized lies in her surrounding culture which trap people in poverty:

  1. The poverty mindset says: “I am poor; therefore, I’ll always be poor.”
  2. The entitlement mindset says: “I am owed something! Who will give me a house? Who will educate my children?”
  3. Lack of excellence says: “I just need to do enough to get by.”

Ena saw that employers were searching for honest, reliable, capable staff who would commit to and take pride in their work, while unemployed people were complaining about their inability to find a job.

In 2007, Ena developed Siya Sebenza which (as of April 2017) operates 40 WORK 4aLiving centers across South Africa, Uganda, Kenya and the Philippines.

In these centers, the lies above are replaced with biblical truth, and unemployed youth are taught how to work with excellence, start businesses and progress in their careers. They learn how to present themselves in an interview, find employment (through the WORK 4aLiving Job Centre), start a business (through the WORK 4aLiving Business School), pursue further training (at the WORK 4aLiving Computer Lab or Skills Centre), and further their education.

Ena is seeing results. In 2016, across all WORK 4aLiving centers:

  • 3,956 previously unemployed individuals completed WORK 4aLiving

  • 1,845 students improved their skills or learned new skills through the trade skills programs

  • 2,000+ found employment that they know of (Many more students have removed themselves from the job-seeker list and their phones are off, so they are assumed to be working.)

  • 170 new businesses were started from the Business School

  • 174 students went back to school

  • 1,446 made a commitment to Christ –  and are in the process of being discipled

60 percent of WORK 4aLiving participants get a job, 20 percent pursue further education, and 5 percent start a business.

To learn more about this model, visit the Siya Sebenza website or email Ena Richards.

Learned something new? Have a question? Enjoying this post? Let us know!

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5 years ago

Greetings. Thanks for sharing this piece. I am interested in this programme. I want to help jobless youth – discipling them and getting them to have a job. I don’t want to lament about what our young people are going through right now.

Disciple Nations Alliance

Great! Please feel free to contact WORK 4aLiving at their website: http://siya-sebenza.co.za/

Weldon ngeny
Weldon ngeny
5 years ago

To know more about training offered

Disciple Nations Alliance
Reply to  Weldon ngeny

Hello Weldon, to learn more about this program, please visit this website: http://siya-sebenza.co.za/. Here is contact information for their WORK 4aLiving Centres: http://siya-sebenza.co.za/contact-us/

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