New seamstresses qualify with training by NGO’s CHANGE project
When a prisoner is released from gaol, often that person’s struggle to find a place in life, starts all over again. One NGO that works tirelessly to help ex-offenders acquire specific skills, is CHANGE. Only last week, this organisation graduated 40 students after successful completion of their training course. Of the 40 graduates, 21 are ex-offenders who were all trained in fashion design.
CHANGE said this week it has a long-term plan to train more ex-offenders. For this purpose, the organisation is currently talking to the Division of Community Supervision of the Namibian Correctional Services to establish an After-Care institution for offenders who are released conditionally. Once a formal working relationship has been established between CHANGE and Correctional Services, various skills training courses will be offered. It is envisaged that this form of empowerment through specific training will help the former inmates to re-integrate into society.
Since the CHANGE project was launched in 2004, more than 1100 people have been trained, many of them ex-convicts. CHANGE said it has one diploma and one certificate intake per year depending on the number of students.
Helping CHANGE in its quest to improve the future for destitute people, is the FNB Namibia Holdings Foundation Trust. This year the trust has supported the NGO with more than N$330,000 in direct funding.
FNB’s Corporate Social Investment Manager, Revonia Kahivere commented “The education, training and skills CHANGE provides are a great opportunity for those who do not have formal qualifications, those who need to improve their work-related skills, and those who lack positive social support systems.”
“Many times life crumples us, and we make bad decisions or deal with poor circumstances. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. You are special – Don’t ever forget it! I wish you every success for the future,” she said.
At the graduation ceremony, veteran human rights advocate, Phil ya Nangolo thanked the Hanns Seidel Foundation, FNB and the Financial Literacy Initiative, for their contributions over the years, admonishing the graduates to remain disciplined as “anything without discipline would possibly lead to failure.”