Zimbabwe is on course to witnessing an empowerment initiative with a difference following the construction of a state-of-the-art skills training development centre in Tynwald North, Harare, catering for people of different talents and abilities, thanks to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa.
The all-inclusive facility is designed to help people from all walks of life to accomplish life skills with a fully integrated curriculum.
The centre is envisaged to comprise all societal groups countrywide, including those living with disabilities.
The First Lady is spearheading the construction of the facility through her Angel of Hope Foundation and the funding for the project is being mobilised by the Foundation and its partners.
Amai Mnangagwa has a passion for the economic empowerment of the country’s citizenry, especially women, children, the disabled and many other vulnerable groups.
Addressing a progress meeting on the centre yesterday, the First Lady said vocational skills which the institute desires to impart to communities included courses in culinary skills, construction, cosmetology, electronics, computer studies and hotel management.
Cutting and designing, ecosystem preservation, wildlife management training, to mention a few, will also be among the courses to be offered.
Work on the centre, which is at 50 percent, is expected to be completed within the next six months.
“I believe in reform and consequently if an individual fails their Ordinary Levels, it should not mean that life is over,” said the First Lady.
“It is possible to find alternative qualification in the form of practical skills essential for daily livelihood.
“This enables one to have control over their income generation by becoming self-employed. We want the products of this school to be cutting edge entreprenuers who will become future movers and shakers in their chosen fields.
“We shall also be constructing a three-fold sporting court which will accommodate tennis, netball and basketball in order to develop the talent of those who are athletically gifted in sporting activities.”
The Angel of Hope Foundation’s Patron acknowledged the presence of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development at the meeting and spelt the need to craft vocational curricular which shall remain relevant to the current times.
“It is my wish to see the skills development centre develop into a tertiary institution hub,” she said.
“A place which will provide facilities to nurture new ideas and help develop an inquisitive perspective in youths with entrepreneurial skills of today.
“This should help the society and economy to face future challenges and meet rising aspirations of the growing population. If we don’t develop skills, we will not see much change in the development of the economy and we will not have stability and growth in the industry.
“We want the Tuskegee effect where we will see people from all walks of life play a proactive role in shaping their future in line with Education 5.0 (kuziva nekuita).”
The First Lady said Angel of Hope Foundation was passionate about enhancing the living standards of the marginalised, the underprivileged, women, youths and children.
She said it was her aim to ensure that life opportunities were equally accessible to all despite class and creed.
“The skills development centre, which we have gathered to see here, is a product of combined effort and though it is yet to be completed, I would like to express my utmost gratitude to the partners who have contributed, who are still contributing and those who are to contribute to the realisation of this vision,” said the First Lady.
“We have used every monetary donation to this project and we felt you should come and witness and be apprised of what is happening. Angel of Hope Foundation humbly appreciates your commitment and your warm hearts towards the less fortunate.”
Amai Mnangagwa took time to warn the country against losing guard over the coronavirus and urged people to look after themselves and their families and adhere to the prescribed regulations to curb the spread of the pandemic.
The First Lady is not new to the development of vocational training centres as she is also working hard to establish a vocational training centre at Chambuta in Chiredzi where children who were living and working on the streets are being rehabilitated.
Through her Foundation, she has also been mobilising resources for the construction work at the home.
Speaking at the same occasion, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prof Paul Mavima praised the First Lady for her vision.
“We are seeing again today another initiative that links very well with our competency-based curriculum that we are pushing, which is also very relevant to the ministry that I now head which is the ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare where we emphasise issues of livelihoods,” he said.
“The approach that our First Lady is taking is similar to the approach that competency-based curriculum is taking. It doesn’t matter if you are not academically oriented. What matters is to find what you can do best and then you focus on that and develop in that area.
“We will then produce master farmers, carpenters, builders, we will produce all kinds of skills if we just accept that Zimbabweans have different orientations.”
The centre’s contractor Mr Liangmin Jin of China Nanchang described the project as a top class initiative which will benefit the country’s citizenry.
An architect working on the project, Mr Christopher Chikumba, gave an overview of the centre.
The meeting was attended by Primary and Secondary Education Minister Cain Mathema, Health and Child Care deputy minister Dr John Mangwiro, Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, Deputy Minister Raymore Machingura, acting Harare mayor Stewart Mutizwa and the foundation’s business partners and individuals.