Earlier this year, we announced our participation in Street Source, an ongoing effort to help youth in poverty secure gainful employment and become productive citizens. Street Source is a program initiated by Street Kids International (SKI). Besides Affinity Express, companies such as Ayala Corporation, Virlanie and Cummins as well as the not-for-profit organization Project Concern International (PCI) have been involved in the program.
The pilot project for the first year intended to assist 25 marginalized youth in accessing stable employment and shelter, enabling them to contribute to society and improve their futures. At the same time, it would lay the groundwork for a sustainable program that will continue to provide employment opportunities for the youth that most need it. The project was also intended to serve as a working model for interested MNCs and BPOs located in countries with developing economies.
We got involved in Street Source due to our President of Marketing Communications David Grant, who is also a board member of Street Kids International. David leveraged his extensive experience and many relationships in the BPO sector to bring NGOs, MNCs and BPOs together to create this opportunity. He also acted as the project coordinator.
The program targets slum-dwelling, street-involved young people that PCI has identified through current family projects. As of now, SKI and PCI have completed the recruitment, training and placement phase of the Street Source project. To date, 23 youth in Pune, India participated in the program: 13 have been placed with employers and six are actively seeking employment. More than 40 training sessions were completed. The training and placement process has been reviewed as very positive by all of the parties and many useful recommendations for improvements have been made by the youth, trainers and employers.
Participants in the Street Source Program
Leveraging the success of the first year, the target for year two is to train 60 youth, strengthen content and schedules and expand the role for employers. The program also intends to develop a formal mentor training module and make an expanded effort to reach more potential employers.
In the Philippines, Children’s Hour has volunteered to support the project and is working to reach a funding goal of five BPOs with 5,000 employees who would each give a minimum of P100.
Just last month, Affinity Express donated to Street Source for our annual holiday contribution to charity. We are also eager to support the program in other ways: by encouraging employees to volunteer and by spreading the word. Investing in youth makes sense from an economic perspective as well as a philanthropic one: and I am glad we got the opportunity to participate in this program.