Over 80 people from the marginalised community in the Zambezi, and Kavango East and West regions have been awarded technical and vocational education and training (TVET) scholarships at COSDEC by Palms for Life Fund Namibia.
The training will be provided at COSDEC Tukurenu in Rundu, and will include a six-month bridging course, focusing on generic courses such as English and Mathematics this year.
The beneficiaries will then be enrolled the following year for level one in areas such as bricklaying and plastering, clothing production, hospitality, plumbing, office administration, welding and metal fabrication.
Palms for Life Fund Namibia coordinator for the Kavango regions Lucas Nsinano said the assistance being offered to the San community allows them to be equipped with technical skills and to eventually become qualified artisans.
“The Palms for Life Fund is going to fund this; basically, the six months, which is the preparation course for the students,” Nsinano said.
Speaking at the official opening event, COSDEC Tukurenu head of centre Clemency Kafuro commended Palms for Life Fund Namibia for funding the initiative, saying it will assist school dropouts from the San community to get the much-needed skills to better their lives.
“The three-year scholarship partnership aims to address inequality in accessing vocational education for the San youth. The long-term goal is to reduce poverty among the most vulnerable groups in Namibia by reducing barriers to vocational education for the San youth,” Kafuro said.
Kafuro further encouraged the new trainees to commit themselves to the programme and to identify role models, who will mentor them during their studies at COSDEC.
The chairperson of the Kavango East Regional Council, Damian Maghambayi, also urged the beneficiaries to dedicate themselves to the programme and to use the skills they will acquire to innovate and prepare for the fourth industrial revolution.
“I think you are also urged to be more innovative. Therefore, I urge you to enhance innovation in your performance as a daily approach to balancing your career with the fourth industrial revolution, which might be favourable for job creation,” Maghambayi said.
The programme’s goal is to have 80% of the students currently enrolled for the bridging course reach level three, which will enable the trainees to become qualified artisans.
The scholarship covers tuition fees, upkeep allowance, stationary cost, transport costs and uniforms.
Some of the beneficiaries Dickson Minna and John Liepa welcomed the scholarship and thanked Palms for Life Fund for choosing them to form part of the programme.
“I never knew that I would get such an opportunity in my life. I thought when I failed Grade 12, it was the end of the road for me. But look at where I am at now. I am at COSDEC Tukurenu,” Minna said.
“Let us take this opportunity very seriously because, remember, opportunities only come once in a lifetime,” Liepa said.
They further encouraged their fellow trainees to not engage in alcohol and drugs – and to rather focus on their studies during their time at COSDEC.
About 37 students from the Zambezi region were selected, while 21 and 22 were selected from the Kavango East and West regions, respectively. The fund also sponsored over 300 students in Gobabis, Tsumeb and Ondangwa.