In Benin it is customary for workshop owners to demand huge amounts of money for pupils willing to learn the profession. Consequently the pupil works for three years without any financial compensation and has to pay a lot of money to receive a certificate. Tailor Gratien Gbaguidi and teacher Romain Alapini were bothered by the fate of the many loitering youngsters with no schooling, work or education and little prospect of an independent existence. In 2008 they founded the ONG-AJP (Organisation non gouvermentale- Association pour une Jeunesse Professionnelle).
This foundation fights unemployment and poverty and is aimed at deprived boys and girls from Savalou and the surrounding villages. The foundation offers them a professional education (hairdresser, tailor, carpenter, car mechanic, welder) and helps the youngsters to establish their own company by providing them with the necessary materials once they have obtained their certificate. There is extensive contact with the pupils’ parents to convince them of the importance of a good education.
They organise the following activities:
- stimulating existing workshops to offer youngsters a cheap, good workplace and professional education
- offering supplementary training to the tutors
- helping youngsters to establish their own workshops
- offering literacy programs
- seeking financial support