NKURENKURU – Nkurenkuru is home to many entrepreneurs such as self-employed local tailor Maria Nekaro (45), who hails from the Kavango West Region.
Nekaro works hard to feed her family, despite the challenges posed by daily life. Maria says she started sewing many years ago after realising that selling fat cakes and fish was not as profitable and decided to pursue something else and ended up sewing for a living. She has not loked back since then.
She also says there was no way she could afford to wait for employment to come her way on a silver plater and that is why she decided to work for herself to cater for her family’s daily needs. “When I used to see my friends sewing, I also started to develop an interest, so every time I would assist them until I decided to go to northern Namibia at Engela were I enrolled myself to receive training at a small institution called Kengela Menongeru and I did it for six months. At the end of that short course I got a certificate and I came back to Nkurenkuru to establish myself,” Nekaro says proudly.
She operates from a small plot at the open market of Nkurenkuru were she erected a corrugated iron sheet structure to create space for her materials and equipment. “We have no proper structures at the open market, but that is not the only challenge. Currently I have a small sewing machine, which I’m using but it doesn’t allow me to do all that I got trained to to do, because it is too small and therefore cannot sew duvets, duvet covers as well as curtains. But I’m trying with the little that I have,” she says, proving that she is not one to be discouraged easily.
She told New Era that she has been sewing for the past five years and the little profit that she makes she uses wisely in order to take care of her pensioner parents, two sons and members of her extended family. Like so many others trying to eke out an honest living under trying circumstances in Namibia, Nekaro is thankful that the government has introduced free, universal primary education. In the past she used to struggle to keep her boys at shool. Now, she only wishes she can get a proper place to work from. “My interest is to sew duvets, baby clothes, wedding dresses, curtains and also traditional attire. That will be my main focus once I am in a position to afford a big sewing machine and to rent a spacious place to work productively. For us small entrepreneurs the biggest challenge we are facing in this town is the availability of proper premises to operate from. The open market which our town council has set up has no stalls for us to set up shop,” she says wistfully, without ditching a trace of her self-confidence and optimism.
By John Muyamba