These are youths who sleep in the drains beside the Courts, at Yakapilin Market and in various dirty shanties around Port Moresby
PORT MORESBY - Whilst others were painting their faces on Independence Day, I spent my day at Jack Pidik Park.
I had been invited to give a little speech at the Human Development Institute graduation ceremony. So, what is significant about that?
A month ago, a colleague asked me to visit the Tumbuna Market at Jack Pidik Park.
It's the same concept as the Pom City Market. A groups of stalls selling food, artefacts, dresses and so on. Or so, I thought.
The Human Development Institute has a business model that focuses on training unemployed and homeless youths with entrepreneurial skills.
This involves personal viability training and mentorship to enhance self-efficacy and to develop a viable and sustainable business model.
Eleven homeless youths graduated on Friday with a Level 2 certificate from the Institute.
These are youths who sleep in the drains beside the Courts, at Yakapilin Market and in various dirty shanties around Port Moresby.
They smoke drugs, snatch bags and phones, hold up vehicles, that sort of thing.
They were given a second chance to learn how to make money honestly.
Level 1 was about having an entrepreneurial mindset.
Level 2 was about making money.
They were given K10 and within a week, each person had to make K450.
How they rolled over the K10 several times is amazing.
And I’m happy they won't be stealing or doing hold-ups anymore because now they can make their own money.
They have market stalls at the Tumbuna Market.
Under our innovation program, I've developed the 'Homeless Entrepreneurs’ (a social innovation sub-program).
Funding will support their tuition fees at the institute as well as promotion.
So the next time you're in a traffic queue and you see a youth selling buai or cigarettes with a yellow tee-shirt with 'SOCIAL INNOVATION' and the bird of paradise, please buy from them.
With the rise of unemployment, crime, violence, unequal distribution of wealth, poverty and education services, I am hoping this program will improve the lives of our homeless youth and alleviate some of our socio-economic dilemmas in Port Moresby.
Thanks to Barbara Short