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By Judith Santiago
Dressed in formal caps and gowns and with their heads held up high, all 14 graduates of the Magambe Vocational School in Zimbabwe can now face tomorrow as the promise of steady work lies ahead.
Gladys, a girl who excelled in motor mechanics training at Magambe received a double honor on graduation day. She was offered a job on-the-spot by the Minister of Industries as a motor mechanic. For Gladys, it was a special acknowledgment because she is a woman about to enter an industry mostly managed by men.
Skills Offer Hope
Magambe is part of The Orphans and Vulnerable Children’s (OVC) Project , funded by the General Board of Global Ministries’ Health and Welfare unit. The school has been instrumental in helping students orphaned by HIV/AIDS gain independence.
Magambe helps the students acquire the necessary skills to seek employment through local community workforce trades. The program which last 18 months offers courses in fabric construction (tailoring), secretarial studies, building, motor mechanics, brick laying, carpentry, metal fabrication, agriculture, livestock, hotel management, and more. After completion most students find good jobs with local industries and organizations. The school helps to sustain their families while students secure a brighter economic future.
Winning Against the Odds
Two carpentry students and two students of hotel and catering courses also got jobs right away. The others have promises of jobs too. This is a special feat for the students at Magambe as unemployment is extremely high in Zimbabwe. It’s estimated that four out of five people are out of work and about 3,000 people a day cross Zimbabwe's borders to get food or financial support from relatives. Because of the skills these students acquired, they are now more likely to find employment.
For the coming year, Magambe already has 50 student applications waiting for approval for the new semester that begins in January 2008.
More vocational training programs like this one in Magambe are needed. Only a few of the children supported by OVC get the required grades necessary to enter college. Vocational schools are the bridge toward a promising future. Continue to support vocational training programs by giving to The AIDS Orphan Trust, UMCOR Advance # 982842.