153 Youths Acquire Skills in Vocational Skills

The training was for three months The training was for three months - pic by Hastings Jimani

Kamuzu Vocational Rehabilitation and Training Centre in Chiradzulu on Wednesday graduated 153 youths from the tea growing districts of Thyolo and Mulanje in different vocational skills.

132 were supported by the Impact Centre for Economic Empowerment and Development (ICEED) under Accelerating Action for the Elimination of Child Labour in Global Supply Chains in Africa (ACCEL-Africa) in Malawi with support from the International Labour Organization (ILO) and 21 were under Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA).

ICEED Project Coordinator Lusibilo Mwakasungula told Zodiak Online that their project is aimed at protecting youths aged between 14 and 17 that are at risk of going into child labour.

"We are expecting to see these boys and girls utilize the skills acquired here and become economically independent and we are urging them to sell themselves to artisans in their communities to gain experience," said Mwakasungula.

She said 150 youths were enrolled but 18 dropped along the way as some got pregnant while others appeared to have no interest in the training.

MACOHA Acting Executive Director Dennis Mpunga told Zodiak Online that the child labour project which ICEED is implementing is part of child protection which is one of the core activities of the Ministry of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare.

"We are grateful that some graduated trainees are persons with disabilities and as MACOHA we encourage inclusion of youths with disabilities in all activities and no-one should be left behind because of his or her disability," said Mpunga.  

The sole instructor in brick laying Sarah Tausi challenged girls and young women to go for any trade including bricklaying saying there is no profession that is for males or females only.

ACCEL National Project Coordinator Ndamio Kauye said ILO needs implementation of such vocational trainings to fulfill its mandate of supporting government in skills development and creation of jobs for youths.

"We are looking at providing start up materials for the skills gained and apprenticeship opportunities in tea and coffee supply chains and we are at an advanced stage in collaborating with different private sectors that can support these youths," said Kauye.

The training was for three months and the trades offered were brick laying, fashion designing and tailoring, shoe making, motor vehicle mechanics, carpentry and joinery and welding and fabrication.

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