One hundred and seventeen students graduated at Hlekweni Friends Rural Service Centre on the outskirts of Bulawayo on Thursday after completing six months vocational training courses.
LINDA CHINOBVA/ JUNIOR MOYO
The students underwent both theoretical and practical training in carpentry, building, sewing and garment making, early childhood development and plumbing.
Bubi Rural District Council chief executive officer Patson Mlilo said the training would last for their life time and empower them.
Hlekweni Friends Rural Service Centre is a welfare organisation that has been fighting all forms of poverty through various programmes it offers.
Mlilo said Hlekweni is one of the best institutions in Matabeleland offering vocational skills that cater for school leavers and underprivileged people.
Mlilo said it was encouraging that gender no longer stood in the way of youth empowerment.
“Our communities are now breaking the cultural norm that hard courses like building are for men.
“I have noticed that women are also doing courses like building, plumbing and carpentry and they are no longer afraid to explore,” Mlilo said.
Hlekweni director Innocent Moyo said in edition to learning some vocational skills, the students were also exposed to services such as HIV and Aids testing and male circumcision that they would not normally access in their rural homes.
Hlekweni student representative council president Sitheni Ncube said they had also been equipped with values such as peace, solving conflicts non-violently and the importance of communication.
Ncube urged her colleagues to go and develop their communities through the life skills they have acquired at the institution.