Situated in Yopougon, to the west of Abidjan, the Amigo Doume Foundation takes in troubled teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18, and gives them long-term training in carpentry, metal work or agriculture, allowing the children to choose the skill they most want to pursue.
Abidjan has a selection of charities and NGOs who work with young children, but desperately few that work with children over the age of 13. Many of the children who pass through the training programmes at Amigo Doume have had trouble with their families, communities and even the law. Most have had little-to-no formal education and few options to make money to sustain themselves.
Each teenager who arrives at the Amigo Doume Foundation spends two weeks trying out all of the four training programmes offered by the teachers there: carpentry, metal work, and either crop or livestock farming. The courses are two years long: the first year offers an intensive foundation education and the second year runs more like an apprenticeship programme.
In the second year the farming students grow food that is eaten by the students, while the wood and metal workers take small orders from clients and the profits go into buying materials for them to continue working and learning with.
Amigo Doume’s commitment to improving lives goes beyond the skills the young people learn onsite. Once a month, the foundation runs workshops they call “parent schools”, where the parents and guardians of the children are brought in to work on building stronger relationships with their children.
The foundation also mentors the child for three years after they graduate, though they encourage the young graduates to take the initiative to find their own jobs.
The qualifications awarded by Amigo Doume are government-endorsed certificates, to ensure they go into the working world with properly recognised qualifications.
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