By Byron Mutingwende and Hilda Sipono
Unemployment has compounded challenges faced by youths and creating programmes to empower young men and women has been seen as a panacea to the problem, the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) has said.
Rev Gibson Botomani, the CCAP Synod of Harare Youth Director, speaking at the on-going youth reunion conference at the Rock Haven Lay Training Centre on the outskirts of the capital said unemployment has led to local and international migration in a development likely to impact young people ‘s religious practices and identities.
“This conference seeks to address a number of challenges around identity and worship which have been compromised by unemployment. It therefore follows that when we empower the youths to venture into small businesses through participation, it will minimise migration by fostering local growth,” Rev Botomani said.
Gertrude Mandizvidza, the owner and founder of Good Care Pre-school and David Mascott Country School introduced the topic of entrepreneurship to the youths attending the conference and reiterated the fact that one’s poor background is not a limiting factor to future success.
“Each and every individual has power over his or her future. I was born at Alabama Farm in Kadoma to poor peasant farmers. Three years later, my mother was blessed with another daughter who comes after me. Due to the patriarchal society, my father divorced my mother and married another woman in search of a son in accordance with the then deeply rooted patriarchal society. He later banished us and my mother migrated to Bulawayo where she found work as a housemaid and was later married to a white man who became my stepfather. I then had the opportunity to pursue secondary education and was able to find future employment whilst at school because I was a bright student,” Mrs Mandizvidza said.
Unfortunately her stepfather died earlier and so did her mother 10 years later. Despite her bleak background, Mrs Mandizvidza used her savings from work and started the Good Care Pre-school that later gave birth to David Mascott Country School. Both institutions are elite providers of quality education to infants and juniors in Norton.
She urged youths to set for themselves clearly defined short, and long term goals, with dated deadlines and review them daily. She highlighted that hard work ethic beats talent, coupled with consistency, discipline, sacrifice, continuous pursuit of knowledge, the ability to listen, and avoiding quitting and fear as virtues necessary for becoming successful entrepreneurs.
Other topics covered by other speakers include mentorship, migration, youth participation in choosing leaders, small business planning and worship in the Diaspora.
The CCAP has been hard hit by migration of youths due to high levels of unemployment and the church leaders encouraged youths in the diaspora to continue worshipping using the same models used by forefathers who are mainly from Malawi and Zambia. The youths were also encouraged to tap into government programmes on women and youth empowerment.
Evangelist Misheck Kungade-Phiri, the Coordinator of Highfield CCAP encouraged youths to build a strong relationship with God.
“Every meaningful relationship begins with love as is clearly evident in marriage. For relationships to last, there must be agreements and covenants as set out in Amos 3 Verse 3 in the bible. Youths are encouraged to cement relationships with virtues that include honesty, faithfulness, integrity and truthfulness,” Evangelist Kungade-Phiri said.