By Loveness Nyathi and Lungile Moyo
A woman, Sikhulekile Dube, from Phumula South’s ward 27 in Bulawayo has empowered her community by offering free self –help skills through her initiative called Phumula Arts and Craft (PAC). Nineteen (19) women graduated in beading, ornament, painting and detergents making at the first graduation ceremony held by the centre.
Dube said that she decided to open the arts and craft centre as a knowledge sharing centre after realising that times are hard and the level of unemployment was too high.
Dube, who is also a teacher by profession held the first graduation ceremony for her students in Phumula last week, where she emphasised that her organisation is non-political and non- discriminatory.
“We don’t empower Phumula South residents only but Bulawayo at large. We also don’t belong to any political party”, said Dube to her graduants and some invited guests.
Speaking to Amakhosikazi Media on the sidelines of the event Dube said she thought of mobilising women, men and youths to come together and learn to do things using their hands and the natural resources found around them. By so doing she said she was making and effort to eradicate poverty and dependency syndrome in her community.
Asked how her initiative Has survived in the ailing economy, Ms Dube said the project was not doing so well due to financial challenges. She said as some resources were needed for the teaching of certain skills the institution was at times unable to fulfil their wishes because of lack of funding.
Dube also mentioned that the school still had no classes and so she was using her home as a study centre.
“l feel we need a proper space for classes so as to grow the number of people who will benefit from the centre”, she said.
Miss Sukoluhle Ndlovu, a representative from Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe (WICOZ) who was invited to witness the graduation appreciated Phumula community for uplifting women.
“Phumula we thank you for uplifting women, l can see a lot of women in Bulawayo rising and changing their mind set. They will no longer look down upon themselves as they want to take part in this new dispensation”, said Ndlovu.
Prosperous Ndlovu (32) who graduated from PAC said she is grateful for what Ms Dube has done for her, she encouraged other women to stand up and grab such opportunities which arise in the community.
Pretty Ndlovu (55) urged women who are unemployed to join other women in projects and start working for their families.
A teacher from a local school who identified himself as Ncube urged parents to motivate their children to take part in hand projects because schools now offer skills such as agriculture, art and design. He also urged women at the event to also take classes on how to manage their businesses.
The ceremony was also graced by Mr S Ndlovu the chairperson for Phumula South residence association and Bongani Sipho Ntonga a representative from Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development.