Windhoek-It has been a long journey from hanging around at the roadside in search of a job to where Nelson Michael is today, a self-employed entrepreneur.
Michael owns a taxi, which he drives himself and runs this as a family business, all thanks to the skill development and training facilitated by the Men on the Side of the Road (MSR) organisation.
“It has become a successful business and the income maintains my wife, five children and a cousin,” he says. Currently, he plans to expand his taxi business by buying another motor vehicle. He also hopes to open up another business in Windhoek. All of this he achieved with the help of MSR.
Michael arrived in Windhoek in 2002 to look for a job and find better schools for his children. Originally from Ongha, in the Ohangwena Region, Michael first worked as a security guard at a security company.
“Unfortunately the owner passed away and the company closed down,” said Michael. He then became a cleaner at a football club, but when the owner of the team returned to Germany the club was closed and he once again ended up unemployed.
“After joining MSR (Men on the Side of the Road), I enrolled for the life skills and money management skills training offered. I also had the opportunity to be taken for vocational training, one of the benefits members receive from MSR. As an MSR member, I was further enrolled at Kayec, where I trained in building maintenance. After completing the training, I was employed as a general worker at a hospital in Windhoek. I had a contract for eight months,” said Michael.
MSR, a non-profit organisation, was established in 2007 with the aim to provide support to men gathering at job sites around Windhoek to connect them to training and job opportunities. Since then, more than 1,200 men and women were registered as members of MSR.
MSR assisted Michael to obtain his driver’s licence which he got in 2014. He was offered a six-month employment contract by one of the biggest companies in Windhoek. When the contract ended, and since he now had his driver’s licence, he was employed as a taxi driver for a year.
His advice to unemployed people is that they should work hard and visit the MSR office for assistance.
“Do not perceive yourself as being poor and that you will never be able to achieve anything. Everything will work out just fine and you should know that everything has its own time. I want to thank MSR for never giving up on me and equipping me with the required skills, so I could start making a decent living,” Michael says.