Investing in Youth and Financing Dreams

Guest post by Umniyat Choudhury 

As a SIL intern researching the demand for youth-centric finance, I visited an ADP (Adolescent Development Programme) beauty skills training class to hear what the participants have to say about funding.

This 14-day ADP beauty skills course not only assists the trainees in understanding the intricacies of being a beautician, but also teaches vital business skills.  Through a series of examples, trainees learn about creating demand, minimising costs, marketing and other business basics.  To instil a sense of ownership, trainees were required to save and bring TK 2500 to class and were provided with basic beauty tools and products.  So when trainees graduate from this course, they walk out with a complete beauty kit – thus making the way forward that little bit easier.

The feedback I received from the trainees was: the course is a resounding success, but a significant issue is obtaining finance to start a beauty salon.  The girls are aged 14-19 and do not have any prior experience, so obtaining finance is extremely difficult, if not impossible.  Some trainees have parents who can assist them financially, however most have no way of collecting enough money to purchase additional products and equipment.  The girls have skills, and dreams  of becoming a successful entrepreneur.  But some feel it’s a tease, since they cannot afford to buy more equipment.  As one trainee put it “ato shiklam, kichu na korte parle, onek apsos hobe.  Onek dhukho lagbe” – (I have learnt so much, but if I cannot implement this I will have a lot of regret and sadness).