In a bid to create a conducive environment and productive young people in Malawi, Habitat for Humanity Malawi in 2019 embarked on a project aimed at equipping youths with vocational skills at its Skills Resource Centre in Salima. One of the beneficiaries of the program in the district, Andrew Dausi from Katambo village in T/A Salima said he has experienced a life-changing journey through the Centre’s carpentry program.

At the Centre, Andrew, aged-24 learned the foundations of carpentry, from basic techniques to advanced craftsmanship, honing his skills through hands-on training.

“Through practical learning experiences and real-world projects, I gained valuable hands-on experience, allowing me to develop the precision and diligence required in the trade. The mentorship provided by Habitat for Humanity Malawi’s skilled carpenters who offered guidance and shared their expertise plus internship opportunities that I got further nurtured my growth,” Andrew narrated.

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Furthermore, Andrew said the program not only equipped him with technical skills but also instilled in him a sense of responsibility, professionalism, and pride in his craft. Apart from supporting himself and the family, he has also hired his fellow youth to help him in running a barbershop business.

Through his profession, he can support himself and his family with their needs.

‘’Before acquiring these carpentry skills, I was struggling financially. Now, I am singing a new song because through it I can get money from various clients, enabling me to support my family,” he explained.

Months after Andrew graduated from school, he got his first job which only helped him secure more clients. It was from the savings he got from his first few jobs that he started his own barbershop business. He still does piecework for various clients whenever they are available.

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He also outlined some challenges that young people trading in vocational skills profession are facing. Among the challenges are insufficient capital, some clients are not honoring their payments in time, excessive cost of carpentry tools, rental issues, and high cost of living in Malawi.
Andrew’s story exemplifies the potential that lies within individuals when provided with the right opportunities and support.

He appeals to Habitat for Humanity Malawi to expand the range of vocational programs and provide ongoing support and mentorship to young people in Malawi and ensuring that individuals have the tools and resources necessary to succeed.

Habitat for Humanity Malawi was implementing the vocational skills training program in Salima with support from the European Union (EU) through SOS Children’s Villages Organization.