Gift relocated to Rusape (Makoni District) where he lived on the streets before being taken in by a sympathising family who lived with him as their own son. In March 2016, Gift heard about vocational skills training being offered by Young Africa with the support of European Union and he went to enquire. He was surprised to find out that having 4 years of secondary school education was not a requirement. Immediately, he selected catering which he said he enjoyed learning so much about cooking.
As part of the training Gift was required to attend 2 months industrial attachment. Equipped with life skills he had learnt he approached a local restaurant PanMart who were impressed with what he had learnt. After 1 month they were so mesmerized with his hard-work and innovative business ideas that they offered him full time employment. In his graduation testimony Gift said with teary eyes, “in my life l had never dreamt of wearing an ironed shirt and a polished pair of shoes. Young Africa and EU have transformed my life and everyone who knew me in this town is surprised at my transformation. I even have my own place to live’’.
''I never thought I could be someone in life, I thank Young Africa for empowering me and bringing the best out of me'' says Miriam Chinyani (22years old). Miriam Chinyani is one of the many young people whose lives were changed through the holistic empowerment at Young Africa.
Miriam was just like any other girl when in 2011 after she passed only 2 subjects at Ordinary Level and could not proceed to higher education or secure employment. Being the first born in a family of 3, headed by her single mother who was struggling to put food on the table, Miriam had no option than to start buying and selling (cross border) clothing items. Life became a bitter pill to swallow for her as nothing materialised from her small business and she thought she could never make it in life. With the support of her struggling and caring mother she decided to enrol and train for catering in August 2015 at YA Chitungwiza after receiving advice from a YA past student.
Miriam is now employed with Spar Mvuma and earning a decent salary after completing part of her attachment with them. Miriam was quick to attribute her full time recruitment at Spar to good behaviour which was to a larger extent influenced by Life skills training, a component embedded in YA vocational training. Miriam claims she is now an independent empowered young girl who is now acquiring assets in her own name and is now helping her mother to take care of the family and her siblings who are at school.
Tafadzwa Chibaringa completed a course in Motor Vehicle Mechanics and graduated from YA Chitungwiza (Zimbabwe) in 2010. He joined the Aviation Ground Services as an Assistant Mechanic in 2013. He believes that YA has equipped him with technical skills to meet his needs and the life skills needed to be a responsible man. He would like to own his own garage and be an inspiration to other young people.
Kudakwashe and Celestino
They are both self-employed carpenters who run their business from Warren Park outside Harare. They both enrolled at Young Africa Zimbabwe in January 2008. At that time, they were being taken care of by a member of their family as they were both struggling financially. Initially, Kudakwashe wanted to become a mechanic, but on seeing the carpentry workshop he changed his mind and after discussing his options with his uncle, he decided carpentry was a better option as it created a better chance of making an income. Young Africa had played a huge part in the development of a skill which is now their main source of income for them and their families. They show us an impressive portfolio of the work they had completed since starting their business. There was an impressive array of cabinets, doors, wardrobes and bed frames, which was made all the more impressive by the fact that these are all made with hand tools and not machines.
Life skills and entrepreneurial classes had greatly affected their lives. They helped them to make better decisions in their everyday lives as well as in their working lives. Customer care is a crossover between both of these. They learned how to communicate in a more effective manner through life skills while they learned how to be better negotiators through entrepreneurial studies, which has had a massive impact on the success of their business. In the future, they’d love to have their own workshop and warehouse, so that they could make their own products without having to wait for orders with larger machines to help them be more efficient. You can feel the empathy that they have for the youth, as they have had the experience and understand how difficult it is for young people. They both agreed that they would love to have the resources and workload to employ young people and to give them opportunities to be resourceful and create income for their own families.