The Problem

Our Solution

Meet Sangje and Motso

The Problem

Too many young women from traditional minority groups are still missing out on education. A mixture of poverty and traditional preference for boys is still relevant in some areas. Girls (especially the eldest) can find themselves pulled from school and relegated to the job of working around home to keep their siblings in school.

Although things have improved dramatically in more recent years, the sad reality is we are still finding young women who have missed most of their schooling. Many have not finished primary school. Some have never been to school. As young women now of working age, they face the daunting question of “what now?”

Others have already become moms and many find themselves as single moms. They also are asking “what now?” with limited or no education.

The simple reality is that their options are few. The best possible outcome for a young woman who is largely illiterate, is an early marriage to a good husband. She will dream of this. Unfortunately, the more common reality is that she will find herself trapped in an environment where she must be compliant, will be the frequent subject of abuse and frequently taken advantage of.  In the worst of cases, desperation can easily result in poor decisions being made such as theft, criminal activity, prostitution, and in an increasing frequency becoming victims of human trafficking in its many forms.

Many of the women we reach are already single moms, raising children on their own. Their situation is even more bleak as options are few and she has to leave her children at the village as she goes to find casual work in the city.

Without help, the future has many clouds for these young women and single moms. We can create options and bring hope to some.

Our Solution

It’s too late for school scholarships. Although gaining a basic education would be a great outcome, such solutions are expensive and would take years to implement. At Captivating, we believe that the best solution is getting these women safely into their first job – the best job possible. The My First Job Program is about joining the dots – matching the needs these women have of a genuine, independent life with a good first employer.

For this to happen successfully, we need to do several things well:

  • We need to mentor these women with basic life skills. Many will be timid, lack basic skills such as confidence, self-belief, discipline, persistence, and money management;
  • We need to position these women well, in order for them to win a job. This requires teaching them hands-on vocational skills in popular occupations. These women will also need basic tutoring in reading and math;
  • We need to establish a network of trusted employers willing to give these women a chance;
  • And we need to keep in contact with them (if they are willing) for a reasonable period of time following their job placement to ensure they can overcome obstacles.

In essence, we need to become their caring parent as they take this first step.

In 2016, we started this program focused specifically on training women to work in restaurants as Assistant Chefs. We believe this is one area where many great opportunities exist and where a solid progressive future is possible. We provide 3 – 4 months of intensive vocational training with professional chefs, followed by 2 months of internship/job placement with a local restaurant. We are then hopeful this restaurant provides them with permanent employment. We then see how things are looking 12 months later to assess whether she is progressing.

Our success rates are great with over 70% of women securing employment in restaurants as Assistant Chefs/Support. Some women return to their village and start up their own restaurants.

Project Partner

Meet Sangje and Motso

Sanje was born to a poor family. She was not able to go to school but had to ‘grow up’ quickly and take care of her injured father and the daily household chores while her mother had to go out and find some work.

Motso had to finish school in grade 4 and spent the next 11 years in a wheelchair, in and out of hospital. Her family spent all their money and incurred great debt. Motso defied all the doctors’ predictions and at 22 years of age, was finally able to walk again.

Sanje and Motso applied for the Captivating My First Job Assistant Chef program and started their journey to a brighter future in 2016. They eventually secured their very first full-time job in a restaurant as waitresses and assistants to the head chef.

Now independent young women, they dreamed of owning and running their very own restaurant. With careful planning and hard work, their dream came true in September 2017 (see their video on this page).

All it took was a sponsor to decide to support each of these girls. Thanks to the partnership of ZURU (who fund over half of the costs of each girl), it only costs RMB3,200 (or US$40 a month for a 12 month commitment) to fully fund a girl through a MY FIRST JOB program. This includes all support and organization costs to make this program happen, as well as follow-up after they have started their first jobs. Their world literally transforms within 12 months. These young women can finally spread their wings and fly. With determination, bravery and commitment to work hard – she flies to new opportunities.

  • Women are receiving intensive training to become Assistant Chefs by qualified Tibetan and Chinese chefs;
  • A once-only donation of RMB3,200 / US$480 provides training and support for a woman to go through the My First Job Program (thanks to ZURU for fund matching);
  • Training is over a 6-month period including mentoring on life skills;
  • We aim to see employment secured for trainees with supportive businesses


What You Will Receive:

  • A project report on the total project including lots of great photos
  • Our 6 monthly All About The Girl update

Latest News for CHINA - My First Job Program

My First Job Trainees Succeeds through Midterm Evaluation

The first My First Job Assistant Chef Program of 2021 for women in agricultural and pastoral areas in Qinghai Province officially opened in May 1. With the support and cooperation of teachers...

Strong Woman for Her Family

"I've never been to school due to our family's financial condition. Because of this, it's very difficult for me to find a stable job. My family depends on me that's...

Memorable Encounter between Trainees and Program Partner

My First Job Assistant Chef Program for 30 women officially starts today. These women, along with the program coordinator and Captivating staff, were also very happy to meet the six representatives...

Thank you to our project partners