Fashion Can Change Lives – PM

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Prime Minister Nahas Angula has appealed to young Namibians to consider exploring opportunities in the fashion sector, given the availability of textiles suitable for the industry in the country. Although young Namibians are proud to affirm their cultural status, they cannot always express it through clothing because modern traditional fashion is a rare resource. According to Angula, the potential to develop the fashion sector is huge especially with the availability of materials such as wool, silk and leather. In addition, the University of Namibia and the College of the Arts at Katutura Community Art Centre offer training in the fashion world. “Fashion is a sector that has potential to improve the socio-economic status and become a money generating sector within our economy,” said Angula. He said the ideal target for such ventures would be women in rural areas who through various workshops and seminars can become local fashion designers. Those in sewing projects especially in rural setups should be trained in designing, marketing and bookkeeping to achieve higher standards that are competitive with foreign markets. Sixteen years after the country’s independence, the popularity of traditional attire among the youths is rare. Only different cultural groups buy traditional textiles. “The fact that the majority of the youths are rarely seen wearing traditional clothing proves that one has to produce ethnic fashion for them,” he added. The PM said this during a fashion show hosted by a young upcoming Namibian designer Ina-Maria Shikongo. The show aims at raising funds for Theresia’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children Foundation in the Kavango region. Elizabeth Hilger founded the orphanage. The idea was born after her mother passed away last July. During the funeral, Hilger noted that the number of mourners increased significantly during meal times for family members and other mourners. Among the adult mourners were children. After undertaking an investigation, Hilger found out that orphans and children were left to fend for themselves by their parents and used funerals as a source of food. Last December, she founded the centre that today feeds 143 children and also pays for their school fees. Shikongo revealed that through the selling of tickets, an amount of N$2 525 was raised. “The whole amount goes home with Elizabeth. Those people are in need and we should help,” she said. According to Angula, fashion could play an important role in changing people’s lives. He commended Hilger for her dedication and commitment to bring change to the children’s lives, adding that this is testimony of social entrepreneurship.

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