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Rising with Kandowa

2024-05-22  Staff Reporter

Rising with Kandowa

In the heart of industrial Windhoek, Mello Bakery hums with activity. The 24-hour operation, which produces thousands of loaves of bread every day, has recently become the place of work for young Rosamunde Kandowa, a participant in the U.S. Government-funded Reach Namibia project. The 23-year-old lives with her mother and siblings in Katutura’s Ombili location, a residential area on the outskirts of Windhoek of lower socio-economic status, where she heard about the initiative from a neighbour.

Reach Namibia started in August 2023 and provides comprehensive health and social services to HIV-vulnerable children, adolescents, and youth to equip them with life skills and improve access to education, jobs, and health services. Reach Namibia is funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Project HOPE Namibia and Intrahealth Namibia.

Kandowa successfully completed a training that improves the economic security of young women, where she learned financial literacy, professionalism, communication, leadership, and job readiness (including CV writing and interview skills). Vocational training courses such as plumbing, bricklaying, and baking are also supported. Kandowa opted for the baking course and completed her internship at Mello Bakery with flying colours.

Bakery owners Dylan Maritz and Mike Samson endorse the Reach Namibia programme by offering internships and job placements to promising graduates. They also provide critical insight and information to programme staff to ensure training courses meet the actual needs and realities of the country’s job market.

“The characteristics that we look for in an employee are strong work ethics and a go-getter attitude,” explained Samson and Maritz. “Baking is hard work, the hours can be long, but it is also very rewarding,” added Kandowa.

She describes herself as joyful and happy now that she has a job that helps support her relatives at home by covering expenses like groceries and toiletries. She also uses a business start-up kit including a gas stove and baking utensils that were provided to her by the Reach Namibia project to bake over the weekend and sell bread to local community members.

USAID’s Reach Namibia programme facilitates economic opportunities for young women experiencing challenging life situations to help reduce their vulnerability as well as the risk of contracting HIV.

Kandowa is one of six Reach Namibia participants at the Mello Bakery. “I am working hard to gain more experience, grow professionally and hopefully hold a managing position one day,” said a confident Kandowa. “I will always be grateful to my neighbour who informed me about this USAID programme that kick-started my journey of empowerment.”

2024-05-22  Staff Reporter

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