Maun — Maun born, Mathata Mododo,35 has successfully graduated from the poverty eradication programme.
He graduated in February this year after operating a successful catering project which has turned his life around.
He was amongst the 35 beneficiaries who were assisted in 2015 and while others businesses collapsed, Mr Mododo soldiered on to ensure his dream comes true.
Today, he is a motivator, mentor and an inspiration to other youths. In an interview, Mr Mododo could not hide his joy and pride. "I am where I am today because of the poverty eradication programme. This programme has brought me many achievements and opportunities," he said.
He said he was very proud to be amongst beneficiaries who had graduated and were awarded certificates by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi in Gaborone.
He said since he ventured into the catering business, he had managed to open a bank account, built himself a three bedroom house at his mother place, bought a vehicle and a plot where he wants to expand his business.
Although, it did not happen overnight, Mr Mododo said commitment, hard work and perseverance worked for him.
He said life was difficult for him after losing his mother in 2007 at the age of 22 and that before applying for the programme, he enrolled in Ipelegeng programme for two months and later started selling small items such as sweets, fat cakes, ice pops, eggs and beef stew in the street.
He said with the little earnings he had to fend for himself and his siblings.
He is of the view that many people were likely to miss some great opportunities because they allow fear and failure to stop them from moving forward in life.
He explained that fear of failing can be immobilising and it can cause one to do nothing and believe he/she is at cross roads.
Mr Mododo said he had never dreamt about being in the kitchen, but surprisingly, he had become a successful chef and is more passionate and takes cooking seriously as he finds it more profitable.
He said he went for a three months training at Career Dreams in Maun to develop his cooking skills and registered a company called Decmond Investment Company, that specialises in catering and supplies.
He said every day around 12 noon, he pitched his small tent just by the road side and enjoyed a lot of patronage as many who had tasted his food had named him the 'champion of master chef' because of his unique recipes and cooking skills.
A small plate is sold at P10, while a big one is P20 and he has a recipe for each day of the week.
Although competition is stiff in the catering industry, Mr Mododo believes he has all it takes to offer people what they want to buy, not just what he wants to sell.
While other beneficiaries decry lack of market, he said he had no problem with market as he had created a rapport with government departments, private sector and some individuals.
He also caters for weddings, parties, workshops and any activity where his services are needed.
Mr Mododo said he intended to operate his business from his own plot next year, revealing that he had already started construction of a fully-fledged kitchen at his plot as he wanted to start a casual restaurant with table service.
He also said that he wanted to try 'drop a plate' initiative, where customers place orders from their comfort zones and then he delivers.
To make the business more appealing, he said he is planning to offer traditional food on weekends, play good music so that customers could have more fun and enjoy their leisure time at the new place.
Mr Mododo advised his peers and the public at large to learn from their failures, adding that 'failure can teach us the things about ourselves that we will never have learnt otherwise'.
He advised the youth to refrain from sitting home and looking up to the government for assistance.
He said they should visit offices to learn about available programmes to better their lives.
Asked how the poverty eradication programme could be improved, he was quick to state that the initiative was fine, but advised implementers to enhance supervision and monitoring to ensure beneficiaries do the right thing.
Source : BOPA