Women Turn Centre into Economic Hub

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By Frederick Philander GIBEON A former Women Action for Development (WAD) centre in the village of Gibeon formed sixteen years ago has grown into an important economic and self-sustainable venture employing a few unemployed women at the southern town. Lena Cloete took over the reins from WAD a number of years ago and has transformed the place into a flourishing centre for needlework, baking bread and embroidery. “Our members of the Good Hope Organization primarily sell our produce at agricultural shows at Gibeon and even at Keetmanshoop for income. We have even been contracted by the Ministry of Education to daily deliver a number of loaves of bread to the two local school hostels, something of which we are very proud. It ensures a regular income to the staff on a monthly basis,” said Katrina Cloete, the manager. According to her, WAD left behind a few sewing machines for the new community association to kick-start its business. “The Namibia Council of Churches also donated two washing-machines, a blessing in disguise to our organization. We were forced to scout around for equipment to start the project, because the village authorities were not very cooperative when we approached them for help and assistance. We have also approached the government in Windhoek, but with little success,” Cloete claimed in a New Era interview at the town. Cloete is of the opinion that if they get more support she will be able to employ more of the town’s women, mostly unemployed for long periods. “We would very much like to initiate more projects whereby more women can be employed for them to earn a living. Work is very scarce in the town. Presently we have to stick with the few activities we have going. We primarily make use of young women to help feed them,” said Katrina, who is involved in basically every part of the organization.