Youth Empowerment Program
YOUTH EMPOWERMENT HADHI PASTRY COURSE
The advent of Covid19 saw the closing of schools in Kenya, plunging young people into an unexpected season of staying at home. For many of these young people especially those in low income areas, it meant an unstructured period of time. As time stretched, the growing number in teen pregnancies and youth engaging in drug abuse necessitated urgent interventions to engage the youth meaningfully and productively. Most of these young people come from homes where their parents engage in casual labor. This also meant that engaging young people just to keep them busy was not the only goal. We needed to engage them to think outside the box and apply any skills we taught to earn income, make savings or get jobs.
The name Hadhi means dignity. We want to instill it in young people that they are worthy of honor and respect and so they should carry themselves as such in all their dealings. Part of this means that as we teach them pastry making, which is a marketable skill in the densely populated area that is Nairobi, then we make our interactions as focused as possible on treating them as valuable members of society; the leaders of the next generation.
The Hadhi pastry course is a three-week course delivered in a practical and engaging manner. The only theoretical part of the class is the dispensation of the recipe. After that, students are placed in two groups and guided on measuring, mixing and handling ingredients. There are usually a minimum of two facilitators in the room, sometimes three supported by an administrator. Each member of the team is passionate about leaving a positive imprint on young people’s lives.
The class is an appropriate mix of teaching and mentorship with pockets of time in between baking used to teach disciplines like entrepreneurship, saving and costing of products. The facilitators also use games and metaphors to teach disciplines like timekeeping, teamwork, discipline, self expression, respect, creativity and using available resources. All games are well thought out to teach something. The team uses equipment that is readily available to the youth in their homes so they can start with what they have such as jikos instead of ovens which many cannot afford.
Students are taught to make bread; Vienna bread, cinnamon swirl bread and bread rolls, various types of fruit jam, mandazis, donuts, cake and pancakes among other things. Classes run on Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00am to 1:00p.m.The Friday class includes a teaching of value addition such as chocolate glazing, milk glazing, coating, among many others.
We’ve already graduated 10 students from the course and are geared to graduate 10 more for the month of October 2020. There is a lot of demand for the program and thus we have tailor made it so that it goes beyond the scope of school going children to all young people. Each young person is worthy of honor and respect and the Hadhi Pastry Course is dedicated to just that!