Jennieke Bolier (right), Project Manager of Anusa, with some of the women employed at Anusa. In the back row f.l.t.r., are Paulina Garises, Philadelphia Ivy Tsaoës, Dina Garises and Sara Pienaar. In the front row, f.l.t.r., are Eveline Andreas (seated), Jeanetha Eichas, and Lydia Kahone.
Bank Windhoek says it is doing its part as a responsible corporate citizen to support the government in its endeavours to promote gender equality and women empowerment. One of the programmes sponsored by the bank to empower women is called Anusa, a school uniform sewing project for training and providing employment to women. Anusa is an initiative of the community project, Beautiful Kids, and a key element of their strategy to become self-sustaining.
The name Anusa is a Damara/Nama word, meaning ‘worthy’ or ‘dignified’, but is also sometimes used to describe something beautiful. The name Anusa strives to instil a sense of self-worth in women and to make them realise that they are worthy of respect. Bank Windhoek recently announced a sponsorship of N$196,500 for the project to purchase equipment and stock, to train women and to pay for security services at its new schoolwear shop in Katutura.
Anusa was started in October 2011 and employs nine women who produce and sells school uniforms to 22 schools in Katutura. The uniforms are made from quality material to make them last at least two or three years. The uniforms are stocked and sold at the schoolwear shop. Anusa also produces track suits for the winter season. They have so far sold 400 tracksuits for learners and teachers. The project recently won two tenders to supply school uniforms to Otjomuise Primary School and Acacia High School. They also recently started training 28 women in sewing to enable them to start their own businesses. One of the women who received employment from Anusa is Dina Garises who has been unemployed for many years and was dependent on her abusive partner. The mother of four started working at Anusa in February last year. “Before Anusa, I was a nobody. Anusa has changed my life and I can now provide for my children. I can also afford to pay my rent”, Dina said.