Reach Out To Asia (ROTA), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), in partnership with CARE International and Silatech, has provided training and entrepreneurship orientation for 1,100 Yemeni youth. The initiative is part of a $1.2 million project entitled ‘Toward Better Economic Opportunities for Youth in Sana’a and Hajjah’.

The project, a two-year enterprise aimed at improving economic opportunities for Yemen’s youth, was designed to offer viable alternatives to formal employment in a country disadvantaged by high unemployment and a growing population of young people. This project is also in-line with QF’s mission of promoting productive change regionally and internationally.

Through training and mentorship, the ROTA-funded project provided Yemeni youths with relevant business skills, training, entrepreneurship, orientation, and linkages to youth-friendly financial services, ultimately allowing them to capitalize on their skills through self-employment.

The project was launched in early 2014 in four districts in the Hajjah Governorate, including Abs and Hajjah, as well as three districts in Sana’a Governorate, namely Maeen, Bani Al Hareth, and Sawan.

Throughout the project, ROTA worked hand-in-hand with Silatech and its partners in Yemen to teach 1,100 youth the skills and knowledge needed for self-employment. It also granted another 1,000 young Yemeni’s access to information and support services to assist entrepreneurship, enabling them to harness existing local resources.

Essa Al-Mannai, Executive Director of ROTA, said:

The collaboration has had an important and positive impact on a country whose economy is extremely limited. The intelligent design of this project met both the educational and employment needs of Yemen’s youth, and its innovative approach helped promote sustainable long-term development in the country.’

ROTA’s partner in Yemen, Silatech, was founded in 2008 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation. It promotes large-scale job creation, entrepreneurship, access to capital and markets, and encourages the participation and engagement of young people in economic and social development.

Many young people in Yemen have benefitted from participation in the project, such as 24-year-old Elham Radman Al-Qadasi, who lives in one of the country’s most marginalized communities. Elham lives in a small rented house with her mother, whom she also supports due to her ill health.

The young Yemeni, who forewent her dream of studying at university due to her family’s difficult financial situation, explained her involvement in the project, saying:

I was approached by project organizers to receive vocational training due to my economic and social background, and I enrolled in hairdressing and beauty training. I was very excited to start the initiative in September 2014. I enjoyed both the training and my time with the other trainees. I was very happy when my business work plan was selected as one of the best. The project has fully supported me and provided me with a vocational toolkit to start my small business.’

The success of Elham’s plan has allowed her to work in the beauty business as a hairdresser, and, over the last sixteen months, she has served her community from her home. Not only has her business grown steadily since its inception, but Elham is also receiving fame in both her neighborhood and throughout the surrounding areas because of her creativity in the beauty industry.