Namibia: Empowering Youth Through Handwork Skills

A FOUR-MEMBER entrepreneurial group from Walvis Bay has been training the youth in different towns to empower themselves through handwork skills.

The group has trained 50 people at Rundu, most of whom have now started their own woodwork and welding businesses. According to the owner of Gordons Engineering company, Ryan Gordon, the group aims at empowering the youth to ensure they do not end up on the street.

"We decided to come here because we saw that there is a lack of chairs and tables at schools at Rundu, and, at the same time, there are many youths sitting around without opportunities. We started this training programme to empower them to do things for themselves. They did great!" says Gordon.

The group started training in 2019, but attendance was affected by the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, which resulted in some students discontinuing training. The trainees have so far made 500 chairs and 700 desks that they sold to schools.

"We bought material with our own money and sold the finished products to schools. The money was used to pay the youth and buy more material. We want the project to be self-sustaining. I want to encourage other companies to invest in our youth. I know that we must make money, but money is not everything. Rather share the knowledge. I have lost a lot in life and have realised that I should rather invest in the youth. I do not regret it," said Gordon.

The spokesperson of the group that trained at Rundu said skills training was beneficial for the youth at the town, who will no longer sit hopelessly at home, as they have skills that can feed their families.

"I was happy that the company came here. I learned something from here and I am in a position to train others. My own son is now at home with his own business after this training," Bernard Shapirama.

The company also trained some groups at Walvis Bay. It aims to train the youth of Karibib next.

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