Mmegi Online :: Dukwi refugees receive vocational training
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Last Updated
Friday 16 November 2018, 13:42 pm.
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Dukwi refugees receive vocational training

FRANCISTOWN: For many of the refugees housed at the Dukwi Refugee Camp, some 130km northwest of Francistown, starting life from scratch was a bleak and daunting reality.
By Staff Writer Fri 22 Jun 2018, 13:05 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Dukwi refugees receive vocational training








Thirty-two-year-old Margaret Sithole from Zimbabwe was one such person. She fled Zimbabwe, Botswana’s northeast neighbour some 10 years ago at the height of political strife in search of refuge in Botswana. Sithole remained a determined person who still hopes for a better future.  “Life here is expensive, especially when you need to start everything from scratch,” the mother of two children, a boy and a girl, said.

Though the government of Botswana and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) do provide basic commodities, Sithole had to attend a sewing course supported by Skillshare International Botswana. Skillshare International is a learning platform aimed at equipping people with vocational education for lifelong skills. Sithole always wanted to become a seamstress, and one of her friends advised her to attend the sewing courses provided to refugees at the Dukwi Refugee Camp.

The sewing course attended by Sithole and others, provides an opportunity for refugees to expand or adapt their skills. “My future does not end here. I know I will return to Zimbabwe one day. And I want to be an astute businesswoman in my country of origin,” Sithole

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said.  She is not alone in a packed training room, as there is fierce concentration amidst the whirring of sewing machines.

Maria Muthola from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is amongst the 30 trainees learning how to sew. “Not only do we produce items that we will use ourselves, but we are also learning new tailoring skills,” Muthola said.

Her mission is to save enough money to buy her own sewing machines and work from home once she has graduated from the project. Skillshare International’s marketing officer, Matshidiso Kebalefetse said the project gives refugees jobs and training.

Kebalefetse said Skillshare International runs the programme with the support of UNHCR to increase the refugees’ confidence and offer productive services to the communities in which they are now living. The training project has been running since 2012. Sithole and others are now equipped with not only new sewing techniques, but also with the confidence to start stitching clothes for their family, friends and neighbours.

They now dream of having their own sewing business and being able to provide a better life for their loved ones and future clients.

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