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Project SEED expands to Uruguay – program helps young people escape poverty through work

Following successful roll-outs in Colombia, Brazil, and then India, another Project SEED has been planted in South America with a kick-off in Uruguay in December 2018. As it does in other countries, Project SEED in Uruguay will help poor and marginalized young people to make a successful transition to gainful employment and responsible adult lives.

Are there poor people in Uruguay?

Uruguay is sometimes called the Switzerland of Latin America, and boasts the continent’s largest middle class. Despite that, poverty does exist, especially for single mothers with families, in rural areas generally, and in the shantytowns outside of major cities.

Children growing up in those families do more poorly at school, drop out earlier, and are sometimes put to menial work to help the family. In worst case, these disadvantaged children fall entirely through the cracks of society, living on the streets and facing dangers such as prostitution, chemical addiction, and HIV infection.

Uruguay Kickoff

“I am participating in this project because I know about the challenges and difficulties these children are facing when it comes to employability. When I first came to Montevideo, I was only 17 years old, and far away from home. I can share my own experiences with them.”

Fernanda Caresai, thyssenkrupp Elevadores Uruguay

Project SEED volunteer

Fernanda Caresai

Project SEED kicks off with YouthCan!

As with every other Project SEED kick-off, the one held in Montevideo in December was special. Companies including thyssenkrupp Elevator and DHL joined with the government Institute for Children and Adolescents (INAU) and SOS Children’s Villages to welcome both Project SEED and the YouthCan! initiative to Uruguay.

In addition to being a pioneering example of Human Social Responsibility (HSR), Project SEED is also thyssenkrupp Elevator’s unique contribution to YouthCan! which was launched by SOS Children’s Villages in 2017. In countries around the world, this exciting partnership works to empower young people to become stable, contributing members of society.

“This program will help me to develop mentally and become more mature. My main goal is to finish high school and get some work experience. My other goal is to become a ship mechanic. This is a 3-year course at a technical college.”

Freddy, 19

Project SEED participant

What will Project SEED do in Uruguay?

The December kick-off also featured a workshop with around 20 young people from SOS Children’s Villages. Together with SOS staff and volunteers from thyssenkrupp Elevator, they discussed their situations and the kinds of tools that Project SEED could provide them to meet their needs and desires.

The details are still being discussed. After all, everyone wants a successful outcome. One important goal was very clear: these kids want to complete their education. That fits well with the training and individualized mentoring model that Project SEED has used in other countries. It will also help that some of the employee volunteers can easily relate to this goal.

“I want to participate in this project because my personal story is not so different to the kids from SOS. Helping these young adults from a personal and professional perspective is absolutely rewarding for me.”

José Piriz, thyssenkrupp Elevadores Uruguay

Project SEED volunteer

JoÇ Piriz

Flexibility is a built-in component of Project SEED

Flexibility is the hallmark of every good program. To be successful, any idea must adapt somewhat to local conditions and sensitivities. In Uruguay, the challenge will be to assist young people from the relatively small underclass of a generally prosperous society.

But local adaptation of this global program shouldn’t be a problem for Project SEED: that’s the way it was designed. In India, for example, local volunteers have already created an entirely new training template to better meet local demands. Uruguay will develop something that uniquely fits Uruguay.

“I am expecting a strong and solid collaboration with thyssenkrupp Elevator that will benefit everyone. I hope that we can achieve tangible results for the youngsters: that they learn things that they really need and can use in their future lives.”

Anainés Zignago

National Director, SOS Children’s Villages Uruguay

Uruguay Map

Assisting youth with fast-growing success

Supporting underprivileged communities in cities around the world remains a key part of thyssenkrupp Elevator’s mission to make cities the best places to live. Project SEED is an important and growing part of that. Uruguay is the fourth country to implement the program, and soon there will be five: Thailand will be welcoming Project SEED soon. Read all about it – in PERSPECTIVES!

“Raising awareness and addressing the reality of these kids’ lives will help the future of this country. In addition, it is difficult to find well-trained staff, and this project will help our company to train potential future employees.”

Leandro Stivan

General Manager, thyssenkrupp Elevadores Uruguay

What do the kids think, and what do they want? These are always important questions, and SOS Children’s Villages in Uruguay has been taking the time to ask the children through a structured program. Watch the kids at work in this short video.

Uruguay Kickoff

More about Uruguay

Tackling poverty and unemployment in underprivileged communities, our Uruguay social work projects give young people the skills to find gainful employment.

To the project

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