By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Giving to the poorest of the poor. That is what the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare recently did. It donated sewing equipment and materials to the Gam Tannery Project and Tsumkwe Sewing Projects worth N$98 800,40. The newly acquired 12 sewing machines and equipment will help pull the Tsumkwe community out of poverty and into economic prosperity. Handing over the donation, Deputy Minister Angelika Mu-harukua said the two projects are some of the many community projects funded by the ministry under the Community Development Fund. The fund aims at assisting grassroots people to establish income-generating projects to improve their living standards and alleviate poverty. Muharukua said it was pleasing to see community members doing something worthwhile for themselves, especially in terms of selling leather to locals at affordable prices. “This is commendable given the fact that leather products are one of the expensive products being imported from other countries,” added Mu-harukua. Currently, over 80 percent of all leather products are imported from South Africa and other foreign countries and it is worthwhile that Namibians should start producing such materials for themselves with its own resources. This enables the country to move away from the import dependency syndrome. Tsumkwe is one of the seven constituencies in the Otjozon-djupa Region and has a population of 8 823 people. The region is home to the San people among other groups. The vast majority of the San people are poor. The nearest town to Tsumkwe, the main centre where the San people live, is Grootfontein that lies 305 kilometres away. Gam, which is inhabited by Herero returnees from Botswana is 405 kilo-metres from Grootfontein. There is no public transport between these two centres and Grootfontein. Since the Tsumkwe Craft Centre Sewing Group started its activities towards the end of last year, five out of seven people have received training in basic needlework funded by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare. Thread and fabrics for this business amounted to N$2 500 when 11 sewing machines were purchased for the project. Now, the project is said to be progressing well and with the latest donation is set to place more food on the tables of many families. The Gam Tannery Project has 15 workers (seven women ad eight men) where they also undergo leather work training and home based tannery. The gender equality ministry remains committed to its mission of assisting poorer communities out of the cycle of poverty and unemployment, while at the same time encouraging them to work hard for a brighter future, said Mu-harukua.
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