Tuesday September 29, 2020
Najib Mohamud Salaad, 20, started his own electrical business in Qardho after acquiring skills at the local technical training centre/Mohamud Nafiif/Ergo
(ERGO) – Kafi Abdullahi, 29 and a mother of two, runs her own tailoring shop making women’s and children’s clothing in Qardho, in Somalia’s northern Puntland region.
As the main breadwinner for her children as well as six siblings, Kafi’s business enables her to afford the rent and school fees, averaging $248 per month. They no longer have to depend on her mother, who sells meat.
Kafi is among the 60 young men and women who graduated this month from Qardho Technical Training Centre with certificates in various job-related skills, such as tailoring in her case and electrical and solar installation for others.
“When I came here I had no skills at all, but now I am using my skills to earn a living,” Kafi told Radio Ergo.
She set up her shop with an investment of $1,250 from relatives and the training centre. As a woman with children, the going was tough with many other commitments, but she is experiencing the rewards now.
“At first I wanted to quit, but I had to persevere!” she admitted. Nowadays, I don’t want to waste a minute of my time… Yes, life is hard, but it takes patience to reach your goals. I am urging those youth with no skills to enroll in the training too and master a skill.”
The centre opened in 2008. Since 2013, the training courses have been supported by international NGO Save the Children under the “Education is light” project in partnership with Puntland’s education ministry. The centre has produced more than 3,000 technically skilled graduates.
Najib Mohamud Salaad, 20, started his own electrical business while still undergoing training at the centre. He is now earning around $400 a month and covers his siblings’ tuition of $74, which saved them from dropping out of school.
He had to overcome opposition from his family when he signed up for the training course.
“They said I wouldn’t learn anything, I’d get electrocuted, or I was too smart…but thankfully my father stood with me to make it to where I am now. He encouraged me saying it is an important skill that is in demand and would help me become independent,” Najib said.
Jimale Ali Gesey, the principal of the centre, said Qardho no longer needs to seek skilled people from outside because the centre has generated enough skilled labour locally.
“The people working in this centre and those who graduated have changed the life of this town, in terms of production and development. We support them and encourage them as well as providing them kits to start their businesses,” he said.
Najib, meanwhile, urges other young people to open their eyes to vocational careers. He has observed that those skilled in vocational trades, if they put in the effort, can have a better chance of employment than graduate from formal education institutions.