The Marama Youth Foundation is a new organisation established to assist young people in building their capacities through training and volunteer work. The organisation specifically targets less fortunate youth, dropouts, and those who have not had any opportunities for education.

Foundation founder, Tevita Taravaki, underwent training at V-Lab on how to establish an organisation and subsequently decided to establish this foundation last year.

“I have experienced a life where I had to hang around the streets, but through those experiences, I have decided to change my mindset. I have used my experiences to positively impact other young people,” he said.

“Comparing our lives to ten years ago, we have undergone significant changes. We often depend on the Government, but we must change our mindset to access the services provided by the government. The Marama Youth Foundation was established at the beginning of the year, and its first project, Youth Power, was run in collaboration with Youth Challenge Vanuatu and V-Lab.”

Through this project, they reached 300 youths on Efate. Mr. Taravaki mentioned that the Commonwealth of Learning funded this project, which, though small, played a crucial role in bringing youths together for leadership workshops.

Taravaki shared his enthusiasm for helping youths, especially how they can open up, speak, and share their ideas during these activities. He pointed out those even dropouts, often labelled as ‘Josses and Josslins,’ surprised facilitators with their ideas and solutions.

“After the training, Marama Youth Foundation has built a database, and now the 300 youths are in their system. They have decided that next year, they will open new doors for them to fill volunteer forms at the Vanuatu Red Cross Society,” Taravaki said.

Following the training, some youths were sent to V-Lab and Youth Challenge to take courses to enhance their skills.

Taravaki mentioned that they have other projects ready to start, and the New Zealand Government is ready to fund a project they have applied for, mainly for their information centre.”

The first Youth Information Centre has been established in Mele, and next year, they will kick off with this project.

This centre will house information from the government, private sector, down to the provincial and education levels. When a youth enters this centre, they can access all information without the need to go to town or move from office to office.

Taravaki concluded that the vision of the Marama Youth Foundation is to Equip, Empower, and Excel (EEE). This means that when young people join the association, the foundation ensures they provide a pathway where youths gain experiences through various stages of training until they find a job to support their families.