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Work & Learn - City and Village Exchange program

New community members learn a profitable skill in exchange for work, shelter and food.

Photo of Andrea Zelenak

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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

Millions of people are struggling with displacement, sometimes even causing distraction with locals. If there was a way each community could win, resources might be more acceptable to the public and easy to implement. I’ve done non-profit work in Tanzania. One group I’m inspired by are “Domestic Students” in a village called Lupanga. They are secondary students who have failed out of school, who have come to the village to learn a new skill in order to get a job (without an education.) The Domestics learn how to sew in order to become tailors and seamstresses, a good job for a person in Tanzania. While they are learning the skills of becoming a seamstress, they often help at a nearby orphanage to cook and clean for hundreds of children. (This is where I got the idea!) Imagine if villages and cities who needed extra help, offered to teach skills in exchange for work. Even if a city paid one teacher, teaching 30 students a new skill, it would cover the cost by having 30 extra helpers on hand, paying for their education, food and home through work. By living together with other students or families, they could save money. In addition, there could be programs to help their children get into local schools as well.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

This would work for any developing city or country who has something to offer, but also has the capacity and need for working individuals.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

By learning a skill, individuals and families will not only create sustainable jobs and futures, but become respected and understood by their new communities. By working together and partnering with new individuals, neighbors will see a partnership with each other that will help them connect on a deeper level.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

Having this kind of stability is what all of us hope for. So many of us across the world worry about our futures, especially financially. This would give new members a chance to breathe and get back on their feet, which is what a lot of people need.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

User feedback from the communities will be important every step of the way. It will take some time, but as soon as new individuals complete the program and enter in the workforce, they will fully see the impact and benefits of this project.

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

I’m a humanitarian designer who has done non-profit work in Tanzania, as well as lived and worked in Ghana.

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Photo of Sevde Şengün

Hello Andrea Zelenak I really like your idea. If you haven't check yet it will be exciting for your to check out other ideas on the platform, provide some feedback and explore potential areas of collaboration with them.For related your idea I suggest these two idea for check out
Bridge to a Better Life project from Turkey :

Empowering Women to Preserve a Piece of their Culture Regardless of the Environment by Developing Self-confident and Economic from Mexico Border :

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