Last month, CEO Sarah and Africa Programme Manager Ash embarked on a whirlwind, two-week tour of Zambia. They visited our six in-country project partners; COP, RICAP, Eliashib, Keepers, KIC and KEVTC and had the opportunity to meet trainees due to finish their vocational courses in the next few months.
Sarah and Ash were very pleased to see how the projects are already making huge changes to trainees’ lives.
John Mbewe and George Fara are taking part in the RICAP electrical installation training.
John lives in Kafue with his mother and four siblings. Unlike the majority of our trainees, he actually completed his education, but unfortunately was unable to afford the fees to take his final exams. He therefore found it difficult to find secure work, apart from occasional work packaging at chemical factory.
John found out about the training opportunity from a friend who had previously trained with RICAP. He chose electrical installation, as this was his dream.
George lives in Kafue with his mother and one of his sisters. Like John, he completed his education, but had to leave school before he could take his final exams due to the cost and his mother becoming unwell.
George was with John when he heard about the training, and decided to apply and learn a skill that he could use to get work at local companies, particularly with a shortage of skilled people in the area.
Neither George nor John had any experience of electrical installation before starting their training. Since then they have learned – amongst other things – how to safely fit a distribution box, change sockets, install new lights and fix damaged appliances. They explained that from July they will learn more about domestic installation and will then move to learning about industrial installation.
John and George have already been able to use some of their new skills and work together on small domestic wiring jobs in their local community and earn some money. They are also both members of the Village Saving & Loans Association (VSLA) group set up by trainees. VSLAs are groups of people who save together and take small loans from those savings, a micro-finance method that helps reduce poverty by financially and socially empowering poor and vulnerable people.
George said he joined the group so it would “help me to save and make sure I don’t waste any money I earn.” Once he completes his training, he plans to use his savings to help buy further items needed for his work – along with photography equipment so he can also build up a graphic design business. John also said he was saving to help set up his business, using his saving to pay for equipment and any additional tools needed.
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