Paula (left) and Natalie, Barrett Town, Jamaica. Photo: Alejandra Kaiser.
Jamaica – April 30 2018

Two young women prepare for independence

Leaving care and starting to live independently can be a daunting time for a young person. The SOS youth facility in Barrett Town, Jamaica, provides life skills training to the young people living there, giving them the skills they need as they prepare to begin their careers and become self-reliant.

Natalie, 19, is a young woman living at the youth facility who plans to become a massage therapist. She finished high school three years ago and attended the Community School of Cosmetology where she studied hairdressing for nine months and massage therapy for three more months.

In order to support young people like Natalie, the youth facility provides training in basic professional skills, including preparing for job interviews, dress codes and resume writing.  Staff members also work with each young person to make individual development plans for them. These plans include educational topics such as courses and training.

With her educational background and the support of staff at the youth facility behind her, Natalie is confident that she will get a job in her chosen profession. She has worked together with the youth leader, Patricia Tulloch, to prepare for job interviews. “Auntie Tulloch helps me prepare for job interviews, telling me what the possible questions will be and how to answer them,” explains Natalie.

Another young woman benefitting from this support is Paula, 19, who also lives in the youth facility. She joined her SOS family together with her three younger brothers when she was six years old. She studied fashion design for two years, and she just started business studies at the Montego Bay Community College. Although her schedule is very tight with her studies, she is currently looking for a job. She dreams of one day being a business woman working in interior design. While she recognises that there is a long road ahead, she is confident that ambition, communication and decision-making skills will help her achieve her goals.