The youth programme is in its pilot phase and was created in recognition of a clearly under utilised demographic of Sri Lankarsquo;s society. Quarter on quarter Sri Lanka’s labour force statistics highlight the high level of unemployment of young men and especially women aged 18 – 34. Although reasons for this vary, the Foundation has a recognized a clear trend across its areas of operation in both rural and urban areas. Increasing school dropout rates particularly before and after the Ordinary levels and Advanced levels indicate a clearly worrying pattern of performance and there are insufficient alternatives to the formal education system. These lead to young people taking on menial jobs with little or no training and qualification and also increase the likelihood of involvement in substance abuse, petty theft and crimes and in the case of girls early marriage.
The MJF Youth programme seeks to create a safe space for the Youth to voice their concerns, receive help where necessary and training or support to establish their own path.
The programme is currently broken into 5 key areas.
Leadership - Increasing Self Esteem and preparing an individual for life after school
Awareness including in Sexual and Reproductive Health Access to resources and information
Entrepreneurship - provides skills, resources, grants and small business loans to young and first time business people
Jobs - Establishes a job bank connecting young people to some of Sri Lanka premier companies and their resources
Youth Building - Creation of community projects that help young people use their organizational skills and resources to assist communities either affected by disaster or in need