Forty-nine-year old Monika Ekandjo encourages other women to be innovative and to utilise natural material from the environment to produce craftwork to make a living and sustain their families.
She says if they engage in productive work they could provide for their families, instead of waiting for government to provide jobs.
She believes in empowering herself and says government mostly has opportunities for skilled people, but has laid the foundation for those without skills to make something out of nothing.
“There is nothing such as waiting for government, you should empower yourselves. However, when government comes to your aid then that should just complete what you have already done for yourself,” related Ekandjo. She recalled that when she started making traditional silos in 2006 she had no skills in this regard. She said she visualised what material she could use to make silos in order to put food on the table. Ekandjo has since established a place beside the road at Omindamba village along the Ruacana-Outapi road, where she sells her products. Ekandjo says she is able to complete at least one hand-made silo in two weeks, which she sells for N$1500 apiece. With the little she makes in what she describes as a “fast-selling business” she is able to feed her five children and send them to school. Ekandjo readily admits that preparing the material requires much effort, but she adds that it is her heart’s desire to ensure that her family is well looked after and that keeps her motivated. She therefore encourages other women to use their imagination and see what they can do to make a living.
“If you have the ability to weave baskets, do it. If you can make clay pots, do it. If feel you have the desire to do something but you do not have the skills then find people who know and ask for advice,” Ekandjo advised.