Nokia, the global mobile communications company, has announced the launch of several projects designed to provide young people in regions still affected by the devastating 2004 Christmas tsunami with training and new skills.
Working with the International Youth Foundation and the Grameen Foundation, the company will develop projects to meet the specific needs in each country. Activities planned for 2007 include training in business and life-development skills, apprenticeships in the hospitality and tourism industries, and vocational programs such as sewing, weaving, carpentry, and boat construction and repair.
According to IYF president and CEO Bill Reese, young people were disproportionately affected by the tsunami, which resulted in lost livelihoods and the deaths of countless parents and family members. "As a follow up to relief operations," he said, "there remains an urgent need for comprehensive programs that help young people regain confidence, acquire skills, and access either jobs or the loan funds needed to launch their own small businesses."
To that end, Grameen is advising local institutions on how to provide microloans to budding entrepreneurs. "As these communities continue to rebuild, it is critical to nurture sustainable economic activities that will have long-term benefits," said Alex Counts, president and CEO of Grameen Foundation. "We believe microfinance is already playing a critical role in promoting these activities and are pleased to work with Nokia in this effort to extend financial services to additional families in these communities."