Five street-connected children from Mlambe Health and Social Trust (MhEST) on Wednesday, 18 December 2019 graduated from Bwalo Initiative’s Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programme.
The five students, aged between 15 and 18, joined 17 others from Emmanuel International in successfully completing the 6-month programme featuring courses in carpentry and joinery, tailoring fashion and design, brick laying and plumbing.
They will now await attachment to different organisations based on their expertise in a bid to further horn their respective skills.
Bwalo Initiative Executive Director Rodgers Kaunda said: “We’re thrilled to see these children finally completing this programme which began earlier this year in July.
“We’re happy to help empower street-connected children and the youth, especially those who end up failing to find something tangible to do in their communities despite having finished their secondary education.”
Zomba City Council Social Welfare Officer Linda Matayataya said: “We’re thankful to our partners for such an initiative as this will help street-connected children and the youth acquire various technical skills.
“The expertise these children now have will eventually help them become independent, empower the communities they come from as well as contributing to the development of this country.”
MhEST Psychiatric Nurse Doreen Bukani said: “We’re delighted for these children who have come a very long way. They used to loiter the streets of Zomba City with no bright future in sight.
“But as an organisation we made a decision to help them and today we’d like to thank them for making us proud. We’re also thankful to our donors for always sending the necessary provision required to help support these street-connected children.
“My message to these children is just to urge them to continue working hard while persevering. They have already taken a step forward by graduating today and now their future looks bright.”
Joseph, one of the street-connected children, said: “Am grateful to have had the opportunity and privilege to be enrolled in this programme, something which was unexpected. A big thank you to MhEST for paying my tuition fees.
“I’d also like to thank my colleagues who encouraged me from day one, making it possible for me to graduate today with the skills that I’ve attained here, otherwise it would’ve been easy for me to give up and return to the street.”
Mlambe Health and Social Trust used to support the five street-connected children at the MhEST Resource Center before deciding to enrol them into Bwalo Initiative’s TVET Programme in July as a long-term solution, following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two organisations.