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Women urged to start businesses

by Sunday Express
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Touch Roots Africa Executive Director Mawinnie Kanetsi

Tokelo Rasephei

WOMEN have been challenged to be bold enough to start their own businesses as a way of empowering themselves in the current national situation that is characterised by high levels of unemployment.

The call was made by Touch Roots Africa (TRA) Executive Director, Mawinnie Kanetsi while addressing participants at the recent TRA workshop at Durhan Link in Maseru.

The workshop, which was held over five days from 19 to 23 June, was aimed equipping young women with the necessary entrepreneurial skills as well training them in psychological support services in relation to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.

The programme was initiated after it was observed that lack of jobs and capital to start their own businesses exposed young women to greater risks of transactional or commercial sex work, thereby increasing their risk of HIV infection.

The workshop stressed the need for women to be afforded work experience, particularly those who had just graduated from tertiary institutions.

TRA launched the ‘Dreams Innovation Challenge’ in October 2016 to teach young women about HIV and AIDS as they were highly vulnerable and likely to be exposed to the pandemic due to high unemployment rate in the country.

The two year programme is also aimed at providing jobs and business opportunities to 800 young women from the ages of 18 to 24 in Lesotho by the end of 2017.

Speaking at the recent workshop, Ms Kanetsi revealed that so far 80 women had been placed in different organisations since January and 25 of them are now permanently employed.

“The objective of the programme is to see to it that companies and non-governmental organisations give young women the exposure to the business world and to bridge the gap between school and employment as it is unlikely for people to get jobs without experience,” Ms Kanetsi said.

She also thanked companies that had offered women three months internship and urged the women to share their new-found skills and knowledge with others.

She also called upon women to be bold enough to start their own businesses instead of waiting to be employed.

TRA is a non-profit organisation which was founded in 2004. It was in response to the high demand for support and care services for the growing number of orphaned and vulnerable children living with and affected by HIV and AIDS in Lesotho and the Southern Africa region.  It is funded by the United States government under PEPFAR and John Snow Inc.


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