By Demetria Banda

Catholic Development Commission in Malawi (CADECOM) a relief and Development arm of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) has given the youth a lifeline through Hope for Youth Project which is being implemented in two Districts of Zomba and Balaka.
The Youth, who had otherwise no hope of contributing to the economic development of the country have been equipped with different skills through the project and some were provided with seed money/grants and business startup tools to start their own businesses.
According to CADECOM’s National Coordinator Chimwemwe Sakunda, the Hope for Youth Project which started in 2017, aims at empowering women and vulnerable groups through vocational education and Entrepreneurship skills.
“Through the project, the Youth were given vocational skills in trades like Electrical installation, Fabrication and Welding, Construction and brick-laying as well as carpentry and joinery. The project therefore is promoting equitable and non-gender-biased access and retention in the targeted vocational colleges,” said Sakunda.
Sakunda further said Hope for Youth Project has among others also helped in promoting self-reliance among the youth and Increased access to vocational skills’ training by vulnerable youths especially girls surrounding Namitembo Technical College in Zomba and Ulongwe Mobile Centre which is under Andiamo Technical Colleges.
One of the beneficiaries of the project who comes from Nkasala Village in the area of traditional Mlumbe in Zomba District Christopher said he had a chance of learning brick laying course at the college center cohort number three. Soon after completion of his course, Christopher was struggling to find start up tools for his work. However, Hope for Youth Project came to his rescue by providing him with start-up tools.
“After receiving the tools from Hope for Youth, I went to Wisdom Construction Company for practical. I worked there for one year and after gaining enough experience, I went back home and am now constructing my own house which is 8.5 m in length and 5m in width. Am very happy with the skills and tools I received from the project because my life has really changed. Now, I have my own house and am able to support my family in all needs, which wasn’t the case before,” said Christopher.
Mark Dodoma is also one of the beneficiaries of the project, He did his training in electrical installation. After completion of his course, he had access to start-up tools and made enough money to buy his own and later returned the tools he was rendered by the project. He is now working on large scales and able to support his family.
“I am so much grateful for the program and I am happy to say am now able to install people’s fridges, geezers, solar panels, televisions among others,” said Dodoma.
Maxwell London, a 23 years old boy who studied Electrical Installation and Electronics at Lisanjala Mobile Center forth cohort and advertised his skills through posters in his area upon completion won different contracts at Nsosa trading Centre -Machinga and his life has changed.
“Right now, am able to support myself and my family easily because of the skills and start-up tools I got from the project and really my life has greatly changed, am kindly thanking donors and ECM for this good project”. According Maxwell, he managed to buy additional tools, home theatre system and he has opened a barber shop where he has employed a fellow youth as a barber.
On the same, Felister John, a 25 years old divorced mother of two children from Nyaka village T/A Mlumbe Zomba, studied bricklaying forth cohort at William mobile center and soon after receiving start up tools she got employed by one contractor in the area.
The project which is being funded by the European Union (EU) through Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) is targeting youths of all denominations including those living with disabilities.