Former inmates venture into upholstery

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Helping hand… Managing director of Ombaye Fishing Lukas Uutoni (left) and Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resource Dr Samuel Chief Ankama with the beneficiaries.

Windhoek

After three inmates were released from the Windhoek Correctional Facility, where they had spent between 10 and 13 years each, they decided to start an upholstery business.

While they were incarcerated the three, Willy Katjunamunene, Victor Zondjembo and Rehabeam Angula, discussed what to do once they were released.

They went into business in 2012 and registered their firm with the Ministry of Trade and Industry at the time. Their business is situated in Golgota 13 where they currently repair chairs, sofas, cars seats and office furniture.

“We told each other that job opportunities are scarce outside. What are we going to do? When we were inside we were taught at the workshop skills such as upholstery, shoe-making and tailoring,” said Katjunamunene, adding that they chose to open an upholstery business, as tailoring was already dominated by women and shoe-making by other businesspeople.

He said their first machine was a donation from Sara Elago and the second machine and compressor came from John Pandeni Constituency Council.

Yesterday the trio received another industrial sewing machine as a donation from Ombaye Fishing Company. Katjunamunene said they appreciate this kind of equipment as it helps to expand their business.

“In the beginning it was difficult, you know, because we’re coming from the correctional facility and people had no trust in us, but we proved them wrong. We made a mistake like any other person, we were struggling, now we are standing on our own feet. We’re moving up and forward,” said Katjunamunene.

Former journalist !Naru Geingob, 54, was another beneficiary, who received a left-hand laptop, as he had suffered a stroke in 2007, which left him disabled on the right-hand side. He previously had a laptop, but it was stolen.

“I started writing with the left hand and have written five books so far, but because of shortcomings I could not afford to launch the second book, which is all handwritten.

“This will be a significant step towards assisting me to write, although I type with left hand. I can continue to write and publish books. At least one will be out by August,” Geingob remarked.

Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Dr Samuel Chief Ankama said the donations are not perishables, but tools of economic development to enhance job-creation and self-reliance.

“Some companies – I have realised – like giving consumables just for the stomach for a few days, instead of assisting communities with tools of development to help communities to economically grow step by step,” he remarked.

Managing director of Ombaye Fishing Lukas Uutoni said its part of their social responsibility and urged the three beneficiaries to go out and empower others.

“Start looking at others. Also support them and employ them. I hope it (the donation) will make change in your life and others,” Uutoni said.

 

 

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