New moves: Innovative dance program in Colombia gives youth a springboard to employment



In Cali, Colombia, Cuso International has trained 40 vulnerable youth in dance, while helping them learn the necessary skills to land a job or start their own business.

The four-month initiative provided a total of 32 virtual and face-to-face classes. Dance enabled the young participants, which included Colombians, Venezuelan refugees and migrants, to strengthen their leadership, hone communication skills, and learn teamwork – essential tools when it comes to accessing and maintaining formal employment.

“We used dance to inspire our participants and enhance their skills to successfully perform in their first job or start their own business. Given the current challenging circumstances for youth in Colombia, the results of this project are gratifying, and we hope to continue,” says Clemencia Vargas, Director and Founder of Vive Bailando, Cuso’s implementing partner.

The program included sessions on employability and entrepreneurship, which allowed participants to recognize their work profile, learn how to build a résumé, and manage a job interview. They also gained knowledge on how to identify and develop business ideas. As a result, more than 67 per cent of participants have started a small business or have been hired by private partners.

“Cuso International is committed to the personal and professional growth of Colombian and migrant youth.  During these critical times, we need to find ways to work together so our local youth can regain their hope,” says Alejandro Matos, Director of Cuso International in Colombia.  “Using dance as a way to connect with youth was an inspired idea.”

The project’s finale virtual dance show took place on July 3. The program is a partnership of Vive Bailando, Cuso International and the Government of Canada.