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Keeping tekkies tidy… empowering youth through skills training 

2024-05-29  Correspondent

Keeping tekkies tidy… empowering youth through skills training 

Iuze Mukube


The #BeFree Movement under its Youth Opportunity pillar recently launched a shoe-cleaning initiative to advance and encourage entrepreneurial initiatives that open doors for sustainable business.

It was launched last week at the #BeFree Youth Campus in Katutura suburb with the support of the Japanese government under the #LeavingNoOneBehind project.

The #BeFree movement is a youth-led campaign providing a safe platform for Namibian adolescents and young adults to discuss their challenges.

A total of 1 472 youth entrepreneurs
have been empowered and equipped
through this pillar, said Uajorokisa Karuaihe, the CEO of the One Economy Foundation under which The BeFree Movement falls.

Karuaihe said one of the goals of their relationship with the Japanese Embassy was to establish a shoe laundry, and provide skills-based entrepreneurial training
through shoe cleaning.

“The programme has been a resounding success and impactful in equipping youth and restoring dignity, particularly for those who thought they had no other option or opportunity,” she noted.

Karuaihe explained that ‘Tidy Tekkies’ comprises six entrepreneurs from Katutura who are determined to change their socio-economic standards and reach their full potential.

The Pillar will assist ‘Tidy Tekkies’ with support and hold their hands tightly as they navigate the rough seas of entrepreneurship.

“We hope that this will be one of many shoe laundry initiatives to come and serve as a beacon of hope to other young entrepreneurs, a benchmark of innovative entrepreneurial solutions to addressing high unemployment, and an example of the significance of impactful and smart partnerships,” he said. Dawid Gawaseb, the representative on behalf of the deputy minister of youth, said “Power to the Youth” is more than just a slogan, it serves as a compelling call to action.

“It is a commitment to ensuring that our young people are provided with the necessary opportunities, resources and support to succeed.” Moreover, he noted that empowering the youth is about providing them with skills and education, and creating an environment that encourages innovation, leadership, and active participation in the community. “By providing young people with the necessary skills and fostering an entrepreneurial mindset needed to operate a shoe laundry business, we are addressing a practical need and paving the way for future leaders and business owners,” he said.

Furthermore, he said the launch serves as a prime example of the effectiveness, that can be achieved through collaborative efforts, and the sustainable impact that youth empowerment and engagement may have, especially in regard to matters that directly impact them.

Gawaseb sincerely thanked the Japanese Embassy for their continued support and commitment to the initiative, especially on the unity of shared values and aspirations between the countries, which are to nurture the potential of young people and provide them with opportunities for growth and learning. Namibia UNFPA representative, Erika Goldson, said “Through the Shoe Laundry Initiative, just like other initiatives in Namibia supported by the government of Japan, we are empowering young
people by providing them with income-generating skills. This initiative not only enhances their self-sufficiency, but also safeguards their sexual and reproductive health and rights”.

Goldson encouraged the young people that “you are important, valued and deserving of every opportunity that comes your way. The shoe laundry initiative is more than just an endeavour; it is a chance for you to seize your potential and make a positive impact on your own lives, and the future of our country. We believe in you, we urge you to make the most of this opportunity.”

Yano Mariko, the third secretary of the embassy of Japan in Namibia, stated that the shoe laundry initiative aimed at empowering unemployed youth to start his or her own businesses, and generate income to support themselves and their communities. As such, the initiative was supported with over US$19 000, which is approximately N$370 000. Mariko passionately emphasised, “Initiatives like these offer not just a chance for economic empowerment, but also a space for passion to flourish. As these entrepreneurs thrive and expand their ventures, the ripple- effects will be felt far beyond the confines of their shoe laundry containers.”

The programme is part of a broader youth undertaking that also includes the United Nations Population Fund, and the youth and sport ministry.

2024-05-29  Correspondent

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