In 2021, 29 beneficiaries were placed with Bulawayo Leather Cluster for a period of three months for job skills training, the fourth month was added by the trainer as he saw a need for more skills training. This opportunity provided the Young women, with vocational skills and experience in the different processes involved in producing leather products such as men and women sandals, formal shoes and belts.
After their graduation, of the 29, 12 beneficiaries continued out of free will with 7 being constant and regular and volunteered to be part of the Production Team, for an order from a local retail chain – Edgars. The order required that the Bulawayo Leather Cluster produces a total of 1200 pairs of shoes. These would then be sold by Edgars Stores. This production was done within a period of a month from December 2021 to January 2022. Their wish is to break the bias as the leather products production sector is a male-dominated industry.
The DREAMS Program is funded and supported by the American People and Government, is being implemented in Bulawayo among other districts. Its main goal is to prevent New HIV Infections that most affect Adolescent Girls and Young Women. Young women are most at risk because of multiple reasons and factors. Chief among these reasons is how they are economically disempowered, leading them to fail to negotiate for safe sexual relations and access health services.
As part of the Program interventions, DREAMS has sought to “keep Girls empowered” through training them on financial literacy, job preparedness, entrepreneurship, and facilitating their job placements. The Economic Strengthening intervention complements the HIV Prevention and Sexual Violence Reduction information shared in Social Asset Building Clubs.
During a dialogue with one of the trainers, he mentioned that the DREAMS program is silently contributing to reviving the industrial sector through empowering young women and there is a guarantee that the leather production industry will not vanish after they retire, all thanks to the Economic strengthening pathways that DREAMS have availed for the young people.