THE Women at Work Training Centre in Windhoek last week received N$342 180 to be used to buy equipment and material for dressmaking from First National Bank (FNB), through the First Rand Namibia Foundation Trust.
During the handover, the centre’s manager, Pat Siverton, said since inception they have trained 1 869 students in fields such as cleaning, basic cooking, laundry, dressmaking and teaching children how to read and write.
“Our mission at Women at Work is poverty eradication through upliftment. It is easier for people to find employment if they are well trained. And we firmly believe that young Namibians can create their own businesses and employ others rather than sitting at home and waiting for employment to come to them,” she said.
Siverton said they also offer two modules focusing on how to run a business.
“The funds we received will be used to purchase equipment and materials that will be used in the dressmaking training,” she said.
She said the centre is also working with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration, Safety and Security to train parolees and ex-detainees, to help them become independent as many struggle to find employment.
Speaking at the same event, group corporate social investment manager at FirstRand Namibia Revonia Job commended the centre for bringing hope to ex-offenders, their families and others.
“In 2021, the United Nations reported that Namibia was assessed as having the third largest global inequality gap,” she said.
She said the centre gives women the opportunity to obtain basic skills to sustain themselves, gain confidence and reach life goals beyond their socio-economic status.
One of the beneficiaries thanked the centre for the training opportunity that enables them to open businesses, employ others and earn a living for themselves.
“I was released in 2016, and since then I have never been employed. Wherever I applied people regarded me as a criminal,” she said.
Another beneficiary said this is a once in a lifetime opportunity that they really appreciate.
Women at Work Training Centre is a non-profit organisation that started in 2009 with six students. It was established with the aim of upgrading the skills of domestic workers. Since then, the organisation’s skills base has enlarged and it has increased the number of courses offered.
“I gained a new skill that will benefit me in my life and the classes are so therapeutic. I always look forward to going for training everyday,” the beneficiary said.
The Namibian Correctional Service commissioner, Meunajo Tjiroze, said they were pleased when they were approached by the Women at Work Training Centre to refer individuals who were released into the community, including those released on parole and remission, to the centre.
“We believe that such cooperation with civil society organisations is key to leveraging synergies, in order to aid individuals such as ex-offenders to ensure transformational support and care,” Tjiroze said.