“I was heading down the wrong path,” said Divine Sade, now 20 years of age.

"I started school at my home village in North Malaita. I left school when I was only in grade 4, that was back in 2014. I just stayed at home, did nothing, and was just getting involved in things that got me in trouble.

“Lucky my parents never gave up on me, they would always encourage me to stay away from social problems and to do something with my life.

“I always thought of going back to school, but I knew I was far behind because I did not go far in my education, and at my age I was just ashamed to repeat primary school,” Divine recalled, slightly uncomfortable with what he just said.

Divine said that when he tried to explore other options such as finding a job, he also faced the same hurdles, he had no particular skill and could not meet basic requirements for many of the odd jobs he considered.

"So, when you feel like you have no opportunity the feeling of hopelessness starts to take over your thoughts, which was a difficult time for me. My parents encouraged me to go to Honiara and stay with my aunty, and this was a good decision because my aunty was strict and very encouraging.

“The day I arrived in Honiara my aunty talked to me over dinner, she asked me questions, like why I was not in school, and whether I was interested in returning to school. So, I just shared my thoughts and how I was actually wanting to do something with my life.

“My aunty started looking around, and then not long after told me that I will be enrolled at the Rural Training Centre (RTC) at St. Martins,” Divine said with a smile.

Divine says that when he started school he encountered some difficulties, especially in foundation level maths and basic carpentry concepts. But he said he preserved, and now in his second year he feels he has finally caught on, now fully settled and doing well in class.

“I now know that in any challenging situation I must just face it, and work hard, that is the important thing. I now enjoy learning, and I learn something new every day – I want to be a carpenter one day, and every day brings me closer to that dream – I now feel like I have a future,” Divine said, looking determined and focussed.

Solomon Islands Association of Rural Training Centres (SIARTC) is the umbrella body for Rural Vocational Training Centres (RTCs), non-formal educational institutions for young men and women.

RTC trainees graduate with the appropriate knowledge and practical skills for self-sufficiency, productivity and responsible citizenship within the rural community. SIARTC was established in March 1992 by the controlling authorities of RTCs.

Today, SIARTC has a total of 34 member RTCs, spread through eight provinces of the Solomon Islands.