Chirumanzu students defy the odds

Three teenagers from Rambakombwe Secondary school in Chirumanzu District have defied the odds after they successfully set up a solar-powered barbershop at their school with the aid of  Hand in Hand Zimbabwe and their two patrons.

The three young entrepreneurs, Praymore Nzombe 16,  John Kakoni 15 and Tafara Chivige 18 are part of the Hand in Hand Zimbabwe’s Motivated & Entrepreneurial Youth Programme (MEY) Star  Club, which contributes to sustainable development in the country through improving health awareness.

The programme also motivates youths to believe in themselves and provide entrepreneurial skills among adolescents at schools (13-18 years) and the Out of School youths aged between 18 and 35 years.

The young students commenced operations in July last year after going through extensive training on life skills and entrepreneurship from the Hand in Hand Zimbabwe.

With the aid of their patrons, the three bought two electric scissors, borrowed the school’s solar power and started servicing the community and other school children during lunch hour for $1 per head.

In an interview one of the two boys Praymore said he learnt that one can make a living by starting a business venture at an early age after going through the MEY project entrepreneurship training.

“We were motivated to start the business by the desire to help our parents to fend for the family. We don’t come from rich families and we are hoping that we will be able to pay our school fees and do other things at home with the money we get,” he said.

The other entrepreneur John said they have plans to diversify their operations and have already started buying rabbits and traditional chickens (road runners) for resale.

“We want to grow our business so that in the future we will be able to employ other young people in this district as well,” he said.

Dumisani Nkiwane, a skills patron at the school, said he was proud of the two boys and will continue supporting them.

“The boy’s idea of starting a businesses started at the Hand in Hand Zimbabwe’s star club under the MEY project last year and in partnership with the organisation we have guided them from the business proposals stage,” he said.

Dumisani added that he was impressed by the fact that the two boys’ intention was to get money to further their education, create employment and help their parents at home when they came up with the business idea.

Rambakombwe headmaster Tafadzwanashe Chese commended Hand in Hand Zimbabwe for the work that the organisation is doing at the school.

“I can safely say – without hesitation – that Hand in Hand Zimbabwe has become a part of us. The organisation is actually working hand in hand with Rambakombwe secondary school,” he said.

Mr Chese further indicated that HiH was indeed empowering both his school and the individuals who make up the institution.

“The idea of having learners who are affiliated to the organisation who are running a viable barbershop during lunch hour is impressive,” he said.

He said through the MEY project, students have been equipped to manage the barbershop business and have proper income and balance sheet statements.

Mr Chese noted that the organisation’s interventions have also helped with raising the pass rate at his school and will go a long way in helping the students.

The Hand in Hand Zimbabwe MEY project extends to 30 schools in Chirumanzu and Shurugwi district respectively. Most schools in the two district confirmed that they have recorded positive impact through the project.

Chirumanzu district Schools’ Inspector Bornface Chimbiya said the entrepreneurship training being availed by the organisation are in tandem with the new curriculum which includes skills training.

“There is a lot of impact being made through the Hand in Hand MEY project at schools in Chirumanzu. Children are getting more skills and becoming responsible at an early age as can be noted by the barbershop project.

“They are able to get hands on experience from projects they are doing with Hand in Hand Zimbabwe,” he said.

Mr Chimbiya said the Primary and Secondary Education Ministry is looking forward to more collaborative work with the non-profit organisation and hope to get more support in terms of resources, workshops.

Hand in Hand Zimbabwe is a non-Profit organization that helps resource limited and marginalized people in rural communities, particularly women, to create better livelihoods for themselves and their families through its flagship series, the Jobs Creation Programme (JCP) which aims at alleviating poverty through job creation.

JCP also encompasses a self-help approach that is premised on a four pillar model involving social mobilization into self-help groups (SHGs), training in entrepreneurship and economic development, facilitating access to microloans and facilitating market linkages and value addition.

Apart from the Jobs Creation Programme approach, the organisation has over the years implemented the Motivated and Entrepreneurial Youth (MEY) Project, Community Upliftment Project (CUP), Green Enterprises Project (GEP) and Jobs for Zimbabwe.

The organisation was registered as a non-profit organisation in Zimbabwe in July 2015 and is presently supporting communities in seven districts namely Bulilima, Chikomba, Chirumanzu, Gwanda, Lupane, Nkayi and Shurugwi.

The two patrons and Hand in Hand Star Club members pose for a picture with the barbershop equipment