MSR brings hope

MSR currently has 1 461 registered members who are given access to various life skills training programmes.

09 November 2018 | Banking

Unemployment and poverty are just two socio-economic challenges that impede human progress.

Not having the means to purchase essential goods, such as food, can impede an individual’s dignity.

Two aspiring Namibian entrepreneurs from different backgrounds decided to tackle their unemployment and change their state of affairs. Their story, which shares similar paths and circumstances, is one of perseverance.

Katutura residents David Mupandeki and Toivo Lukas, who are both 36-years-old, have a few goals in common. Not only are they aspiring entrepreneurs, they are also individuals who want to offer fulltime employment to others.

In pursuit of this, they have already started to pave the way to make their dreams a reality.

Mupandeki is a qualified electrician who also specialises in carpentry and owns a home-based tuck shop. His goal is to become a millionaire.

“I like to share my skills and resources with others,” he said.

Apart from owning a barber shop, Lukas, who is a qualified welder, operates and owns a welding workshop.

“Repairing refrigerators is another one of my business ventures,” he said.

His business partner, 23-year-old Fillipus Iyambo, said he has learned a lot from Lukas and is thankful that after he failed grade 10, Lukas gave him hope at a time when his future looked bleak.

The other trait that Mupandeki and Lukas share is the fact that they both came to Windhoek in search of jobs. The journey tested their characters to the limit.

Hopeful

Mupandeki was born in Oshikango and later relocated to Oshigambo village in the Oshikoto Region. In 2004, due to a lack of employment opportunities, Mupandeki decided to move to Windhoek with the hope of finding a job that would support him and his family, and help fund his studies.

Lukas is originally from Omaku village in Omusati. In 2005, he also moved to Windhoek in search opportunities.

When Mupandeki and Lukas arrived in Windhoek, what greeted them was not what they expected. Jobs were scarce. Despite this, they kept hope alive and the situation seemed to change when they acquired temporary jobs, after standing on the side of the road.

The breakthrough

Mupandeki and Lukas were desperate for a breakthrough. In 2007, Lukas saw a glimmer of hope when he was referred by a friend to join Men on the Side of the Road (MSR), a non-profit welfare organisation. In 2010 Mupandeki joined MSR.

Registered in 2007 with the Ministry of Health and Social Services, MSR is determined to fight the high unemployment rate and the increasing number of school dropouts in Namibia.

It currently has 1 461 registered members who are given access to various life skills training programmes. It also assists both its male and female members by enrolling them at accredited training institutions and paying their tuition fees in full.

MSR has two branches - one in Windhoek and the other in Swakopmund.

Certificates and membership cards are awarded to members who complete life skills training and its money management workshops.

It also connects potential employers with the jobless via a job placement initiative.

Last year, 98 MSR members found part-time job placements and 26 were successfully placed in fulltime jobs.

At the same time, 78 members were successfully trained in various disciplines, including construction, automotive mechanics, home management, education and entrepreneurship.

While at MSR, Mupandeki and Lukas grabbed the opportunities presented to them.

After completing his electrical installation training at the Katutura Youth Enterprise Centre (KAYEC), Mupandeki got a fulltime job as an electrical installer.

A few months later, he was employed for six months as a retail shop a controller and receiving manager.

He then started his own business.

Mupandeki said he learned a lot at MSR, especially from its money management courses.

Similarly, Lukas underwent money management and life skills training at MSR.

In 2010, he participated in a welding and fabrication training course offered by KAYEC, also paid for by MSR.

In 2011, he successfully completed a welding and fabrication programme at the Windhoek Vocational Training Centre (WVTC). He graduated in 2013.

“Mupandeki and Lukas made use of the opportunities we offered them and this has resulted in them being the business-minded individuals they are today. We are proud to have contributed to their success,” said MSR’s Windhoek office manager, Hilya Kambanda.

Future perspectives

Both Mupandeki and Lukas said they plan on expanding their businesses countrywide. They thanked MSR for being the stepping stone to them fulfilling their dreams.

The only challenge the two are currently facing is a lack of capital to purchase adequate operating machinery. They said that this will, however, not deter their plans of expanding and employing others.

The two agreed that youth should make use of any opportunity presented to them.

“Do not wait for government to assist you; let them find you halfway,” they advised.

Anyone looking for gardeners, plumbers, domestic workers and who want to take advantage of Mupandeki and Lukas’ services can contact MSR directly at 061 305 892 or visit their website at www.msr.org.na.

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