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Boost Fellowship Trust supports candle production in Budiriro

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An eighteen member club, Kushambidzika has eased lighting headaches on Budiriro 4 residents as their candle manufacturing project has come at a time the country is experiencing erratic supply of electricity. By Joneck Gwatiwa. “Manufacturing candles is proving to be quite important to our community because this ZESA (power utility company) is not reliable,” Kushambidzika […]

An eighteen member club, Kushambidzika has eased lighting headaches on Budiriro 4 residents as their candle manufacturing project has come at a time the country is experiencing erratic supply of electricity. By Joneck Gwatiwa.

“Manufacturing candles is proving to be quite important to our community because this ZESA (power utility company) is not reliable,” Kushambidzika Health Club chair Abigail Mupfakadzi said. “Our candles are sold at subsided prices so they are always on demand”.

With support from UNDP, UNICEF and the Government, Boost Fellowship piloted the Urban Resilience Program in Budiriro, Glenview, Gwanda and Chipinge with the object of addressing key economic growth bottlenecks, reduce poverty and improve livelihoods of youths, women, disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in peri-uban and urban areas. Up and coming entrepreneurs were trained on business management skills in order to improve individual business acumen and competitiveness.

The BOOST Fellowship Trust Business Development Manager Munyaradzi Allen Chinhanhu said community driven initiatives are critical in improving household incomes and fostering Local Economic Development.

“We would want to see more youth and women start innovative social enterprises that address myriad deficiencies in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); Electricity; Basic Infrastructure and Social Services that urban dwellers face today.”

Maria Jinga, a beneficiary and manager of the business venture said: “The training came as an eye opener to some of us. We were taught to handle our customers with great care so that we remain their supplier of choice.” “We now incentivise our regular customers by giving them rejects after every purchase as a special treatment to them,” she added. “We even ask them if the product is performing well to show them that we care.”

Charles Matimba, a community member said the candle manufacturing enterprise has helped group members adapt to the prevailing socio-economic environment.

“This project is giving women an equal opportunity to contribute financially in the home. Every time they make sales, they set aside a certain amount which they in turn use to buy groceries for each member in their group”. “This has lessened men’s burden which is something all men want particularly during these difficult times.”

Kushambidzika Health Club is on an expansion drive, and the club considers securing more machines to boost production as it currently uses one with the capacity to produce eight candles at a go. “As a club, we are hoping to buy two heavy duty machines and, we have already started the process of saving towards that goal. We are converting our money to Rands (South African currency),” Getrude Dalu, an ecstatic club member said.

Kushambidzika Health Club is now extending its candle making skills to non-members for a fee to supplement their income.

“Individuals who don’t want to join us but, still want to learn are welcome. We only charge a small fee which is way better compared to exorbitant fees colleges charge to acquire the same skill,” club chair Mupfakadzi said.

The club chair made a clarion call to all women to desist from sitting on their laurels. “I urge women out there to start joining clubs in their respective areas and not depend on their husbands’ salaries,” Mupfakadzi said. “People should not think that we just make candles and that’s it, we learn different skills from each other.”

Urban Resilience Program rationalises age-old income imbalances between man and women.