Investing in hope – apprenticeships transform lives in Pakistan
Nikson is 19 and has never been to school. Like many young Pakistani Christians, his impoverished parents could not afford to educate him. Christians, a despised minority in Pakistan, are often discriminated against in employment. Add to this the fact that Nikson is disabled, and the future seemed hopeless for him. But Nikson has begun an apprenticehip, learning how to be a motor mechanic, with funding from Barnabas. He is gaining skills that will enable him to earn a living: suddenly Nikson’s future is bright and he can look forward to living independently.
Another young Christian apprentice learning the same trade is Dawood (16). Dawood got as far as class 4 and then had to abandon his schooling, due to family problems. He confided in his pastor how desperately worried he was about his future. Dawood’s pastor knew about Barnabas Fund’s apprenticeship scheme and recommended him to our project partners.
Dawood has really taken to motor mechanics. He loves his work, has learned a lot in a short time, and is very happy. He hopes to be able to set up his own business in the future.
Bringing hope to young Christians
There are 100 Christian young men and women already serving apprenticeships, with the help of Barnabas Fund, in four cities across Pakistan. Hundreds more are waiting to join the scheme. Some are learning to repair cars, like Nikson and Dawood, others to repair motorcycles. Some are learning to be electricians, tailors, plumbers, hairdressers or beauticians. Several are being trained in computer hardware. Two are learning welding. One is learning carpentry, another video editing, and another is learning to repair mobile phones.
In each of the four cities, a Christian supervisor, funded by Barnabas, visits the young apprentices regularly to mentor them and make sure everything is going well. We also pay each apprentice a small monthly stipend to cover their travel to work and other basic needs. When they are qualified in their trade or profession, they will be able to earn more.
Respect for the despised
“The individuals will also gain respect, independence, and recognition at the completion of training, because of the skills they will have learned,” comments our Pakistan Coordinator, Mr Wilson Saraj. This is so important for young people who know that the majority community looks down on them and considers them suitable only for lowly, dirty, unskilled jobs.
Strengthening the Church, spreading the Gospel
“Young people are also the future and a bright hope for the Church. If they have skills and training, they will become productive and effective members of the church Community,” adds Wilson. “The next generation of Church people can be better off and more financially stable. This will allow them to contribute more to Church in tithes and offerings, eventually making the Church strong, which will also help to spread the Good News of the Gospel.”
Will you invest in hope by supporting Christian apprentices in Pakistan? We are looking for funding for 1,000 apprentices.
One month’s stipend for an apprentice costs £9 ($12; €10).
One month’s petrol for a supervisor to visit the apprentices by motorbike costs £14 ($18; €15).
One month’s salary for a supervisor costs £70 ($92; €77).
One motorcycle for a supervisor to travel to visit the apprentices costs £220 ($290; €245).