Our mission is to contribute to the personal and professional development of underprivileged children and young people living in poverty or disadvantaged circumstances, with a focus on employment training and life skills coaching as a means to increase employment potential and the possibility of achieving a more fulfilling and productive life.
We design our courses to meet the demands of the local job market.
• All young people deserve equal access to a high quality education and legitimate employment opportunities regardless of social class or physical ability level. • Young people who have access to quality further education, skills training and mentoring support are more likely to lead fulfilling, successful lives as adults. • A supportive environment with positive role models, where youngsters learn values, is more likely to improve their life chances and opportunities for them to realise their potential. • Legitimate employment leads to empowerment, economic independence, increased hope and reduces the likelihood of involvement in criminal activity. • In order to address poverty and inequality it is essential to create future leaders with values and a sense of social responsibility.
• Honesty – transparency and accountability from all parties in all matters and activities.
• Responsibility – understanding of and commitment to carry out all duties to the best of our ability at all times.
• Productivity – all activities conducted in accordance with and towards the fulfilment of our vision.
• Respect – from and between all participants, both staff and children involved in all projects at all times.
• Solidarity – the pledge of unconditional support for all children involved in DEF projects.
• Courage – the ability and belief to face challenges and the confidence to make bold decisions under adverse circumstances.
From the beginning DEF recognised that in order to carry out our aims most effectively it is important to count on the knowledge and experience of local partner organisations. For that reason one of our principal strategies has been to identify and form alliances with respected and trustworthy service delivery partners, with shared visions and objectives.
Since 1996 FEDUT has been successfully supporting children and young people from some of the most marginalised urban communities in Cali. As well as sponsoring them through their primary and secondary schooling FEDUT also run vocational and technical training schemes for youngsters from marginalised urban communities who leave school with no opportunities to enter into further education.
Since 2012, in alliance with FEDUT we have trained over 600 young people as junior accountants, and more recently as marketing and sales assistants. These are among the most in-demand professions in the region.
Each course trains approx. 30 young people who have passed through a stringent selection process and includes modules on: IT and relevant software packages, ‘how to create your own business’, practical life skills and values, as well as a personalised mentorship programme for each student. The course is designed to give them the necessary skills to start working in a semi-professional role in a reputable local company.
The seventh month-programme comprises of a four-month theoretical phase followed by three-month internship carried out under the tutorship of a designated representative in a local firm. Our ultimate aim is that the student stays on in the company where he or she carried out their internship, in a full-time role, as a salaried employee.
Since our alliance with FEDUT began in 2012 over 500 young people from impoverished backgrounds have been through our job training programmes, half of whom are still in gainful employment in a related field. We are currently running our 14th, 15th and 16th courses together, training 90 students simultaneously.
In addition to our work in Colombia we support a UK-based skills training charity called in Godalming, Surrey called Skillway. Since 2012 we have been providing bursaries for students to undergo two year ‘masterclass’ course in their chosen craft/trade.
In 2016 we launched our ‘Fresh Start’ programme in conjunction with Surrey Youth Support Services in order to help some of the most disadvantaged young people in the southwest Surrey area. Together we identify youngsters most in need and provide them with the equipment and support services they need help them access education and/or training and ultimately employment.
We want to give these youngsters practical help to enable them to take that first step in turning their life around.
Funds raised towards the programme are spent on items such as: suits and/or shoes for job interviews, refurbished laptops so they can work and learn at home, a basic mobile phone, a bicycle to get to training centres or a job interviews, and in some cases towards their Duke of Edinburgh award program.
Over the last year we helped nearly 40 youngsters in the southwest Surrey area obtain the equipment/services they most needed to help them get back in to education, training and/or ultimately employment.
Since 2017 we have expanded our remit to include homeless young people in response to the sharp rise of homelessness in the UK. Often these youngsters are from broken families and they have been left behind by the conventional academic system.