More than 10,000 children from the poorest communities in Northern Ireland are on the verge of getting the skills they need to start a new life.
It’s a programme that is helping to bridge the gap between them and their peers and to build their confidence.
Its called the Teach For Life programme and it’s being developed by the Catholic charity Carers Ireland.
It has a total of 7,000 pupils and aims to reach around 80% of children from deprived areas.
It was started by the Sisters of St Laurence of Glamorgan in Belfast, which was named after a former bishop of the area.
The children in the programme get training in literacy, numeracy, hygiene, cooking, basic cooking, cleaning, domestic work and household skills.
The programme was launched in 2017 and has so far been a success.
According to Carers, it has taught around 3,000 young people about basic literacy skills, including spelling, writing and grammar.
It also provides them with opportunities to take part in projects that include learning about life skills like cooking and carpentry.
And it’s helping them to learn how to manage stress, which can be particularly hard for children from poorer backgrounds.
“We are so fortunate to have so many young people in our community who have been gifted with so many different skills,” said St Clair.
“I think we can see it in their behaviour.”
The programme is designed for children who have already had a lot of time to grow up and have not been given the opportunity to learn and grow as adults.
It gives them the opportunity for them to become involved in community projects and volunteer with local charities.
“You know, the children are not just a target for a project, they are the ones who are helping to fund it,” she said.
The project also aims to make the programme more accessible and it also aims at reaching children who are on low incomes.
“The aim is to give them the skills and the motivation to take up a career in a community,” said Ms Collins.
“That’s a huge opportunity for children to be involved in their community.”
She added: “This programme is a way of connecting them with their own community.”