A BULAWAYO man, who grew up with speech development problems and attended specialised schools, seeks to empower people living with similar difficulties by teaching them skills to enable them to make a living off their works.
Winston Mawere (40), who grew up in Bulawayo’s Tshabalala suburb, had speech development problems that made it hard for him to speak and be heard, is now using his experience to change the lives of people living with disabilities.
He went to King George and John Slaven schools and later improved his welding skills at Specis College between 1991 and 1992.
In 2002, he conducted the trainer of trainers programme under the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido).
“I was in the small-to-medium scale cluster and networking approach and was the technical consultant for Unido for 12 months,” Mawere said.
He formed Prospect Consultancy in 2002 and registered it in 2005.
“I want to equip physically challenged and slow learners with technical skills so that they can make a living,” Mawere, who also benefited from the Disabled Fund in 2010, said.
“I also train people living with disabilities on business plans, cash low management, among other things.
“My dream is to build a technical school for the handicapped, but I am facing challenges in terms of transport and raw materials. I had a speech development problem so I care for people living with disabilities. I want to show them that you can still make it in life. I have assisted a number of people living with disabilities access disability funds that they have used to start various projects.”
Mawere said he needed welding machines, gas welding equipment, computers, tools and a bending machine for his shop in Bulawayo’s Kelvin industrial site.
“I lease a shop from the Bulawayo city Council where I employ five people. One of them is handicapped. We make door and window frames, metal furniture and wheelbarrows, among other things,” he said.
“The problem is the cashflow because some buyers at times delay in making payments due to the present economic challenges.”
Mawere presently works with the special needs education department in the Primary and Secondary Education ministry training children with special needs.