Ensuring children have the skills to get along and get ahead in life

Meet Maria, she is 15 years old and lives in the capital of the Philippines, Manila. Maria is a sex-worker. One day, on her way back from school in her hometown Davao, a young man approached her with a job offer to work in the kitchen of a restaurant after school hours. She was lured into this job with the dream of a good life for her and her family. Before she knew it, she was forced to do more than cleaning the dishes. When she tried to quit, he took her to Manila.

Meet Rasheed, this 17-year-old used to be the cricket star of his primary school in Dharamshala, India. Everybody loved him. He was offered a scholarship at a special secondary school in Delhi for children talented in sports. Nine months ago, he broke his arm in a traffic accident on his way to school and has never been able to bowl a perfect pitch again. Cricket was his life; he now feels directionless. He doesn’t want to go back to his poor family in his hometown in Himachal Pradesh. In order to survive in Delhi, he runs errands for a small restaurant for a daily wage of US$ 0.90 and a sleeping place in the kitchen.

Meet Mustapha, he is a 16 year old talented student from Sétif, Algeria. Classes come ‘natural’ to him. In fact, Mustapha has been quite bored at his secondary school and doesn’t have to spend much time on his homework. One of the new imam’s in the local mosque noticed him and asked him to join a new youth group. Mustapha was keen to participate as he gets money for attending. Most of the other group members are older than Mustapha and some have travelled to Libya to fight. He doesn’t really want to follow them, but what can he do, he already used the money he received to buy a PlayStation and needs to settle his debts. His plan is to cross the Mediterranean Sea and ‘escape’ to Europe.