The vision of SSI is a world where youth who are vulnerable, become empowered leaders and achieve their dreams”
“To unlock the potential of vulnerable youth ages 12-25 through holistic development, strengthening families and activating sustainable opportunities to become self-sufficient.”
3.Strengthening Youth Services
What is Stepping Stones International(SSI)
Stepping Stones International(SSI) is an innovative after school and community outreach programme established in 2006 in Mochudi, Botswana that serves orphaned and vulnerable adolescents (ages 12-25+) and their caregivers. Through school counsellors and the community, SSI identify orphaned youth who under-perform academically, live in abusive environments or have basic unmet needs.
Through a holistic programme model, which combines life skills, leadership, psychosocial support and community mobilization we enable youth to heal the scars of the past and reconnect with their lost childhood, while growing into self-sufficient young adults.
Why ages 12-25+
27% of all orphans in Botswana are ages of 14 and 17 years (Botswana AIDS impact Survey, BAIS III 2008). As a result, many teenage children fall into the role of caregivers and are denied education, inadequate health care, and protection from abuse. These issues hinder youth preventing them from coping with their experiences and maximizing their potential. SSI provides vital services that helps these young have an opportunity to flourish and are not be prisoners of their circumstances.
Where it all began
SSI began as a small centre serving a very small segment of the local community in Mochudi. In 2008 with help of land donated by the Catholic Church, building materials provided by the United States Embassy and building plans donated by the Rotary Club of Botswana and First National Bank (FNB) we opened a bigger centre have been happy to serve more youth in our local community and district. Barclay’s Bank also provided SSI with the funding to start a successful, income generation programme while FNB furnished the new centre and provided a vehicle help extend the reach of our centre.
Where we are now
SSl’s work is already having a tangible impact on the lives of its participants. To date our programmes have helped our youth return to school, find employment and engendered a spirit of entrepreneurship that has resulted in many starting their own companies.