With virtually no employment available, most young Zimbabweans spend their days hanging out on street corners dreaming, hoping, and planning ways to cross the border to work illegally in South Africa. We have begun a vocational training program for the 200 young people we work with. We currently offer training in woodworking, construction, sewing and computers, as well as resume-writing and job performance.
Zimbabwe currently has 94 percent unemployment, and only those with significant training and skills can create their own work. But schools offer only academic training, and vocational training programs are expensive, well beyond the reach of the poor orphans who we serve.
We are filling the enormous gap in free vocational training for the 200 orphans who are our beneficiaries. After a careful survey of precisely what skills are in demand, we began a program to train the youth in all areas of construction, metalwork, woodwork, sewing and computers. We also pay careful attention to training our young people in responsibility, planning, anticipation, and record-keeping.
The young people who receive training will have dual possibilities: finding employment or creating their own employment. We expect that those who work on sewing will open small home businesses making school uniforms, which are high demand. Our metalworking trainees are already receiving orders for decorative items for local safari lodges and individual clients. And we expect parallel results with the other programs so that they will produce livelihoods for themselves and their future families.