Mariyam, 24-years-old, has always dreamed of a career in Human Resources and IT but in her community of Ukhiya, a sub-district of Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, opportunities are hard to find.
Ukhiya has a local population of 207,379 people and since 2017 has also housed over 700,000 Rohinghya refugees, who’ve fled violence in Myanmar.* The situation for young people living in the area is extremely hard with limited access to training and support, a competitive job market and a tough economic landscape.
This month a new resource center has opened to give young people a place where they can share their ideas and experiences about finding work, and access training and support. The center – which is part of USAID’s YES program and designed by YES consortium partners** led by Relief International – is the first to offer technical and vocational education and training in this community. It will also offer support on emerging concerns about leadership, social cohesion, and women’s economic empowerment.
Mariyam is one of the first young people to access the new center, which is near to her home, and she will be part of deciding how it will be run and how it will grow. Her and her family have always lived locally in Ukhiya, where she has found it extremely difficult to access training and opportunities.
She says: “The resource center will be like a window opening in front of me through which I can see the world. I believe this resource center will act as an online and offline platform to connect the young people from the community.
“I am delighted to be part of the center and to contribute in the development of the young people in the community.The YES project has already been extremely beneficial for me, and I hope this center opens up more opportunities for other young people.”
The resource center is the first of four community based youth-led Resource Centers in four sub-districts of Cox’s Bazar – Sadar, Ramu, Ukhiya and Teknaf. Each center will be open for all young people the local community and will be run by the Resource Center Management Committee made up of elected young people from the community. The committee will be supported by an advisory board consisting of community leaders and representatives from local government institutions.
The center was officially opened in an opening ceremony attended by young people and stakeholders from the community, including the Secretary General of the Resource Center Management Committee, Saidur Rahman Rafi (22) who said: “Young people are the lifeblood of this area, and we will sincerely dedicate ourselves to make this resource center highly sustainable and successful”.
**YES Constortium partners; YPSA, CCDB and mPower.