By Gracious Ndlovu and Tatenda Mkandawire
The Committee For Development at Nkayi Craft Centre has revealed its plans to turn the centre into a Training and Vocational Centre in the near future, in a bid to mitigate shortage of professional skilled workers in various trades and ultimately ease the youth unemployment situation.
Keenan Mpofu, the Chairman of the craft center who resides in the Sivomo area, explained that the goal of the institution is to provide a training and vocational centre so that the community can sustain itself, thereby eliminating the need to import skills from other places.
“At the inception of Nkayi Craft Centre in 1990, we noted that Nkayi has vast talent when it comes to handiwork. However, there was no platform to assist, promote and celebrate such skill. So, we created a forum where one joins and subscribes to the centre. In reciprocation, the centre would publicise and promote his or her work. Now we want to try and develop this place into a centre that will train and develop various skills” said Mr Mpofu.
Unfortunately, it has not been smooth sailing for the centre, due to persistent financial constraints which led to a momentary collapse.
However, recent donations from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), precisely in 2018 have vastly face lifted the facility which is now characterised by a new yellow painted building and a fresh painted showroom.
The centre is run and taken care of by Mr Shepherd Makwindidza(Mlambo), a capenter who is showcasing a number of high quality products that he makes including beds , wardrobes, stands and cupboards.
Mr Makwindidza said that he ekes out a living by his craft and is thrilled at the prospect of the centre becoming a full fledged vocational and training centre.
“It is my wish that the craft centre becomes a vocational training centre because people in Nkayi are sittìng on their talents. I also hope that it becomes a success so that young people in Nkayi are taught skills that they can make a living out of”, said Makwindidza.
Mpofu pointed to the fact that the Craft centre, which is located right next to Nkayi centre’s main intersection, is the first building seen when entering Nkayi from any direction and therefore must look the part.
There are a number of items on show from various affiliates at the centre which include woven baskets, bags , beaded jewellery, wardrobes ,beds and cupboards.
Borne out of the need to equip young generations with skills that can sustain them, the Committee has embarked on this ambitious plan of a training and vocational centre but a number of challenges and hurdles such as unavailability of water, and lack of funding must be overcome.
“We are working with a number of ministries including the Ministry of Women Affairs and the Ministry of Youth to try and gain recognition and support from both the government and the public so that we develop our district. Our focus is on the ultimate goal of being a leading centre in crafts and arts in the district and be recognised as such in our province.” said Mpofu