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Women, youths empowered through projects

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EMPOWERMENT projects that include poultry, bakery, cross-border trade and computer skills acquisition have seen some women and youths in Mufakose, Harare, transforming their lives in ways they had never thought possible.

Report by Kupakwashe Makonye

One of the project beneficiaries, Bester Moyo, said the programme, funded by the Rotary Club, equipped girls to develop small businesses.

“The project has worked wonders for the women and youths in the neighbourhood. The Rotarians taught us that through utilising a dollar one can end up being a multimillionaire,” she said.

She said the transformation they have experienced since the project started was amazing and they had so much to show for their participation.

“The skills taught by the club have helped us grow from strength to strength. We have achieved great things. Most of us are now owners of big properties such as stands and big houses,” said Moyo.

She indicated that they were now dealing with big companies such as Irvine’s Zimbabwe and their businesses were booming.

She said the lives of their families had also changed and there was now a spillover into the community.

The women and youths have been aided by the Rotary 3H Grant Club, the club’s community projects arm.

Catherine Ngowera told NewsDay that the Rotarians had helped change their mindsets and now they were certain they could scale any heights.

She proudly displayed her handiwork: earrings, necklaces, pegs and buttons sculpted out of cow bones.

“Initially I was taught business management skills by the Institute of Cultural Affairs. I later joined training sessions on business management offered by the Rotarians,” she said.
“These people are professional practitioners in business training. If all other provinces could embark on such programmes, I tell you, Zimbabwe will never be the same.”

Ngowera poured so much passion into her work and this paid off in ways she could never have imagined.

“Most of us have achieved so many things as a result of good business management skills. I managed to buy a sewing machine and I do interior décor,” Ngowera said.

“Some are into candle-making and peanut butter-making and they bought equipment as a result of hard work.

“Most people in Zimbabwe suffer because they are unwilling to sweat for their success.”

A youth from Mufakose, Panganayi Ziriminyika, said most of the youths in the surbub who benefited from the programme, were now computer literate after undergoing a computer skills training programme.

“About 20 computers have been distributed by the club to all youth-friendly corners and it is helping the youths in doing serious business and other projects,” he said.

Mufakose is famous for all the wrong reasons like armed robbery, but Ziriminyika said the programme had empowered young people to make a meaningful contribution to their community and shun crime.

“The club’s meaningful engagement is helping in alleviating poverty and crime in the suburb as we are engaging in various businesses that uphold the status of the suburb,” he said.

Rotarian Stella Dongo, who is also TN Furniture Retail chief executive officer, said the initiative was mooted at a critical time of despair in urban areas when the scrapped Zimbabwe dollar was at a free fall.

The local currency has since been replaced by a cocktail of currencies including the more stable United States dollar and the South African rand.

“We wanted to help people feed their families and it was a dream come true. They came up with projects through mobilisation of resources in small groups,” she said.

Dongo added that although the women and youths were taught business skills, their greatest benefit was the mindset transformation they experienced.

“The greatest skill they learnt was the transformation in mindset from negativity to positivity. They were injected with high levels of confidence such that they became immune to drawbacks,” said Dongo.
Youth-friendly corner groups were formed and they are working on computer literacy skills and other business projects.

Youths have become active in HIV and Aids programmes to raise awareness among others.

The main aim of the Rotary Club is to eradicate poverty in Zimbabwe, in line with the country’s Millennium Development Goals.

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