By Shadreck Maoni
167 vulnerable youths in Dowa district can now afford a smile as they have seen rays of hope to have their lives turn around after Zoe Empowers-Malawi handed over business startup kits in order to financially sustain themselves.
The business start up kits which are worth K43 million include sewing machines, barbershop and carpentry tools as well as salon equipment.
Speaking after the official handover ceremony of the business start up kits, Zoe Empowers-Malawi Communications Facilitator Fracson Maotcha said the initiative is part of the empowerment activities that the organization is implementing in the district.
Apart from promoting entrepreneurship among orphans and Vulnerable youths, Zoe Empowers-Malawi is also tackling other areas such as Health and Hygiene, Agriculture and food security, Child rights, housing, spiritual life, community connections and education.
“The core purpose is to ensure that these youths are financially independent. We want to see them excel in their respective businesses. We want to see them support themselves and their siblings. We want to completely uproot the dependency spirit in them.” said Maotcha.
Maotcha said Zoe Empowers-Malawi’s future plan is to see the initiative benefit other orphans in other areas.
So far, the other areas that have been drafted for expansion of the project are Lilongwe and Mzimba.
Maotcha added that inorder to see the project bare fruits, they will ensure that the recipients of the business start up kits are followed accordingly and provided with the necessary business skills.
“To make sure that the project does not die before baring fruits, we have various mechanisms in place. Our field Facilitators have been tasked to be visiting the beneficiaries from time to time to see if the equipment is being used to its purpose. The Facilitators also offer proper guidance to the youths on how they can make good use of their revenues.” he added.
One of the beneficiaries, Melvis Kamanga- who has received hair saloon equipment thanked Zoe Empowers-Malawi for giving her something to sustain her life with other than relying on someone else.
“I have always relied on seeking financial help from people close to me of which i still lack alot of things in my life. With this donation i believe that alot will change. I would like to thank Zoe Empowers-Malawi for the start up kit as it brings hope to my life and those that are close to me. I will make sure my hair saloon business sustain my needs as living from other people’s pockets has proved to be very hard,”she said.
In his remarks, the Social Welfare Officer for Dowa, Rabson Limbikani commended Zoe for its efforts in transforming lives of orphans and vulnerable youths in the district. He urged the beneficiaries of the project to use their equipment properly.
Zoe started its operations in Malawi in 2013. Since that time, over 12,000 orphans and vulnerable youths have been empowered. The organisation also provides micro-grants to those who want to run other businesses.
So far, the organisation is operating in the areas of T/A Chakhaza, T/A Mponela, T/A Dzoole and T/A Nkukula.