By Shadreck Maoni:
Old Mutual Malawi Limited through the Old Mutual (Blantyre) Foundation Trust has invested MK45.5 million to sponsor 45 students to undergo training in various professional programs at SOS Vocational Training Center in Lilongwe.
The amount is catering for both tuition and examination fees to the underprivileged students particularly those who lost parental care where every student is assisted with an average of MK990,000 in the three years they will be at the college.
The sponsorship falls under one of the Trust’s core focus areas that aim at promoting skills development.
Speaking in an interview, chairperson of the Trust, Mr. Tawonga Manda said the sponsorship is a financial and capacity building support targeted towards accredited skills training programs for unemployed youth and vulnerable women that lead to opportunities for permanent job placement.
“Education is key for socio-economic development and industrial growth as it facilitates skills development in a country. You will agree with me that an educated being is an empowered being. The Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III states that 20.4% of the total 17.2 Million population of Malawi is unemployed. This untapped human capital, which, if fully engaged, would contribute to the social-economic development of the country. The MDGS III further elaborates that the youth who complete secondary education and do not proceed to higher education remain unemployed due to lack of necessary skills for the job market. With financial challenges at the backbone, only a few youths have the opportunity to transition to tertiary education” he said.
According to Manda, Old Mutual (Blantyre) Foundation Trust believes that through this support, it will contribute towards improved access and equity in skills development training, quality of labour force and enhanced workforce capacity.
Reacting to the support, SOS Vocational Training Centre Principal, Magret Mphwiyo commended Old Mutual through the Foundation for the kind gesture which she said will go a long way in changing the lives of the benefiting students.
She, therefore, asked the beneficiaries of the sponsorship to work hard towards achieving their dreams.
“This is a rare opportunity for you. You must always remember that you have been picked from a pool of other deserving vulnerable young people who could have as well made it to this place. Therefore, you should not take this opportunity for granted, but make the best out of it” she said.
In his remarks, one of the beneficiaries, 30-year-old Innocent Twalibu who is pursuing a diploma in Community Development expressed gratitude to Old Mutual for giving him an opportunity to rebuild his future.
Twalibu says he never had the opportunity of proceeding to college after writing his Malawi School Certificate of Education (MSCE) examinations in 2013 due to financial hardships.
“I had to work as a security guard in one of the companies to earn a living. It was hard to provide for my family because what I was getting was not enough. Though I wanted to go back to school, I had no one to come to my rescue. I had no idea that one day Old Mutual would be my guardian angel to sponsor my tertiary education” he said.
The 45 students drawn from various districts are undergoing training in a range of trades including Electrical Installation, Textile and Fashion design, Edible Horticulture, Food Production, Information Communication Technology, Business Management, HIV and AIDS Management, Community Development and Public Health.
Old Mutual (Malawi) limited is a Premier Pan- African Financial Service provider and through the Old Mutual Blantyre Foundation Trust the company is implementing various projects focusing on Education, Early Childhood Development, skills development and local priorities.