New opportunities for the workforce

Leah Paxton | Bangladesh

Bangladesh has a population of 160 million people. Day labourers and garment factory workers earn less than US $3/day, while an office worker with IT skills earns about $10 a day. To make a better living, about 1 million people each year leave to work abroad. About 50% of the population is under the age of 25.

Computing skills are vital for the job opportunities and the development of the country. Yet personal ownership of computers is minimal and only the top fee-paying educational institutions have any functional IT department. To realize its potential, Bangladesh greatly needs IT skills training and knowledge of English. Although it is taught at school, very few people develop the ability to speak English. 

OM resources Bangladeshi youth with job skills by offering three-month, two-hour-a -day courses in computer skills covering English and Bengali word-processing, database and spreadsheets, basic photo-editing and internet access. In April, 33 people applied to study at the computer training centre in one region. The team hopes to talk to the students about God's Word, as some students are interested to learn more.  

A young entrepreneur 

Nayef* joined OM’s Sport Discipleship camp in 2015 and the same year also took part in the three-month computer training course. He is a believer and an ambitious individual. Nayef applied the computer skills he learned at the computer training centre. He bought an old computer, rented a small place and opened up a shop for his small business. Since Bangladesh is a developing country, not everyone has access to the Internet and music or other entertainment media files. It is common for people to go to a shop, like Nayef’s, to download media files. 

At his shop, he loads files such as videos and songs onto people’s mobile phones or memory sticks and gets paid for it. He earns about 250 to 300 Taka (around $3 - $4) per day. His father fixes old electronics like mobile phones, radios, and televisions. Nayef is now thinking to expand his business by buying a few computers and starting up his own computer training centre.

Please pray for Nayef as he takes examinations in school and as he looks to earn a sustainable income for himself and his family. OM’s three-month computer training courses at five centres in Bangladesh impact around 430 young people a year. It costs $110 for one month of training or $330 per student for an entire course, setting them up for success and better job opportunities to break out of the cycle of poverty. Would you help train young men and women like Nayef? To give online, please visit: Thank you for your partnership!

*Name changed to protect identity

Published: Wednesday, 31 August 2016
Credit: Leah Paxton
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