An Introduction to SkillsHub Zambia by CEO James Haughton

Empowering Youth for Sustainable Futures


Image of youngest group of children starting their journey at Pestalozzi World

Pestalozzi World offers future-oriented education tdisadvantaged children in the Global South, catalysing economic growth and social advancement. Our programmes assist every child, regardless of their circumstances, in realising their full potential, emerging as self-reliant adults ready to contribute meaningfully to their communities and drive progress locally and globally.

Today our core programme involves the education of 485 children, aged 10-18, from disadvantaged rural backgrounds in three ‘home from home’ Villages in Zambia, India and Nepal. Regarded as centres of excellence in child-centred care, our Villages allow us to cost-effectively educate children in or near their country of origin.

Our Village programmes allow us to ensure that the brightest children, who otherwise are unlikely to finish their educations, become the leaders and changemakers their countries need. We are ambitious to help many more children who have already fallen out of education due to their economically challenged conditions.

Our 2024-27 priorities set out several ambitious objectives to build upon existing outreach programmes that have benefited over 32,000 children since 1995 and maximise the potential of our people, partners and facilities for social and economic impact.

SkillsHub 2004

SkillsHub in Brief:

The SkillsHub is a multifunctional vocational training facility focused on digital and agricultural science skills for young people who otherwise face unemployment and exclusion from formal economies. When fully ramped up the project, anticipated to be operational in 2025 in Lusaka-Zambia, will serve over 1,000 children per year.

The largest client base will be 15-18-year-old youth from the lowest wealth quintile, typically those living in informal settlements in the Lusaka environs. These young people typically face educational barriers that lead them to end their schooling between 11 and 13 years of age. Reliant upon informal and unskilled work, the vast majority exist precariously outside the formal economy on less than $2 a day.

Current vocational training programmes offered in Zambia are aimed at broad subject mastery over years, requiring time for learning that those living below the poverty line cannot afford to commit to. They also require a school leavers certificate, which less than 3% of the client base will have.

To minimise the opportunity cost for the young people who will benefit, the project will attend to their material needs, providing a meal before every session, transport, and even childcare where required.

The programme will democratise access to vocational training by including remedial Foundation numeracy and literacy programs (Head) designed to bring them up to a minimum standard required to develop a Specialism.

SkillsHub goes beyond imparting knowledge. It will instil confidence, self-reliance, employability, and entrepreneurship, paving the way for a future where when learning stops, earning starts (Heart). The vocational training is tailored to in-demand skills/services, ensuring the quick production of sustainable livelihoods (Hands). SkillsHub also plays a crucial role in connecting its clients to a network of employers seeking apprentices, sources of micro-finance, and pathways to further education, thereby ensuring sustainable livelihoods.

The new facilities will allow us to complement the education of our residential Village Scholars, ensuring they are prepared for their rapidly digitising economies with a broad range of digital skills.


  1. Reduced unemployment levels for 15-18-year-olds
  2. Reduced numbers of 15-18-year-olds living under the poverty line
  3. Increased economic growth


True to our roots:Alumni Alaida starting her continuing her education after Pestalozzi.

Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi’s philosophy emphasised the importance of practical, hands-on learning and the development of individual talents and abilities. By ensuring that vocational training also includes moral and mental education, Pestalozzi provided an education for good citizenship.

A Pestalozzi education is thus a practical preparation for the life people are actually going to lead, helping people to become skilled, employable and independent as well as morally good citizens. In this way Pestalozzi was unique and his ideas no less relevant today.

How you can help:

SkillsHub seeks to build a coalition of companies, employers and partners in Zambia that will benefit from the knowledge, soft and technical skills our children will develop. We want organisations such as these to help us shape the curriculum. If you are interested in contributing to this process please contact James Haughton (

If you are motivated by providing sustainable opportunities to disadvantaged youth to derive livelihoods that will put them on a path to security and would like to join our group of funders contributing towards the costs of this project please contact Suzanne Davis (

We are also looking for established partners who can deliver the vocational training in Lusaka. Contact Priscilla Mpundu ( . 


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