WINDHOEK - The FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust re-iterated its financial commitment and pledged more than N$364 000 to CHANGE, highlighting the continued commitment towards education and skills development programmes. Amongst its various courses, CHANGE provides a fashion design and tailoring programme, as well as business training.
Michaela Huebschle of CHANGE received the foundation’s commitment at the project’s recent graduation ceremony where graduates received certificates for successfully completing their training programmes.
Jane Katjavivi, trustee of the FirstRand Namibia Foundation, congratulated the graduates and emphasised the important work done by CHANGE.
“CHANGE programmes enable people to develop the skills to become productive members of society through meaningful employment. The training courses are a great opportunity for those who do not have formal qualifications, those who need to improve their work-related skills, and those who lack positive social support systems. The self-esteem and fulfillment that come from earning one’s own living creates a great sense of confidence and pride,” said Katjavivi.
She thanked CHANGE for addressing one of the biggest challenges of rehabilitation, namely the removal of the stigma that ex-offenders face in the employment market.
“As a business whose vision includes benefitting people and the planet, FirstRand Namibia believes that we should all offer opportunities to empower people to be creative, productive and entrepreneurial. Efforts such as CHANGE should be supported, replicated and upscaled”, Katjavivi added.
Abiud Kuverua, an ex-offender started his upholstery business and received training and financial support from the National Literacy Trust through CHANGE. He shared how he learned the upholstery skills in the Windhoek central prison.
“When people see us, they run away and don’t want anything to do with us. I didn’t give up and used the opportunity to study and make a difference when released from prison. I approached CHANGE when I was released and enrolled for the computer training course and successfully completed my studies. The Financial Literacy Initiative assisted me with equipment valued at N$100,000 for my upholstery business. My dream is to assist other ex-offenders by employing them and helping them successfully integrate into society,” said Kuverua.
The programmes run by CHANGE contributes to economic and social development by re-integrating ex-offenders into society – giving them a second chance. The training assists individuals to support themselves, bringing economic, psychological and social benefits for them and their families. It also has a broader social impact in terms of reducing the numbers of re-offenders, thereby improving public safety.