Khadijah Alisamhoul, 36, founder of the Tower of Power Movement, believes young people in the modern world are being brainwashed into thinking of trade work as inferior. Seeking to reverse that misconception and educate young people, Tower of Power Movement hosted the TT "What's Next?" National Youth Empowerment programme on Saturday, at the Lowlands Multipurpose Facility, with workshops in several trades – auto mechanic, baking, DJing, plumbing, electrical work, hairdressing, woodworking, confectionery and cosmetology.
"We want to change the misconception that tradesmen are less worthy of occupational respect than someone who would work in an office. By having these workshop, we will allow the youths to become more aware of their opportunities. What's next after school? We want to help them visualise themselves in a trade," she said,
Alisamhoul, the owner of Pro Kleen Ltd, a janitorial service company, said she was able to tap into the relationships she formed to get facilitators to volunteer for the various workshops.
The workshops were then advertised where young people "convene" daily – the internet.
"I went to different churches, police stations and youth clubs and handed out fliers. We also had fliers on Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp. I sent it out on broadcast so when young people saw it, they texted me their name, address and what workshop they were interested in. In total we had 123 attendees."
Apart from the primary objective, Alisamhoul said the programme co-ordinators were also able to impart valuable life skills to the youths.
"It was a remarkable success. Not only success but we had a major impact on character grooming and mentorship programme, which we did our first lesson under the John Maxwell Global Youth Initiative – which was choices."
Alisamhoul, a model, entrepreneur, motivational speaker and employee at the Division of Education, said the programme participants can now feel empowered to pursue their dreams.
"The aim is to let them become entrepreneurs on their own. Nowadays, the world is going so fast, a scholarship and going to university may not (be for everybody) because who is going to pay them with all their education? We want to introduce the entrepreneurship skills...Not everybody can work in a government office."
She said even though the facilitators spoke of the struggles they faced in excelling at their career choices, the participants were encouraged not to give up.
"Use your skills to become entrepreneurs and make it into a business. Follow your passion."