The Bulawayo Home Industries, a training centre for girls and women who make a living by producing handwork products, has over 300 beneficiaries, according to a city craft production officer.
Miriam Ndlovu, who manages Bulawayo Home Industries and has over 20 years of expertise, stated that the project was launched in 1962 to assist the less privileged, unemployed, and young people who were unable to finish their studies.
In an interview on the sidelines of the official opening of the refurbished arts and culture centre in Mzilikazi on Friday, Ndlovu said participants at the Bulawayo Home Industries receive training in handiwork skills that include ilala, batik basketry, knitting and weaving.
“Recruitment is done by social workers who recommend people to us and we train them. After training the participants we supply them with material and give them work to do. We monitor the participants until they finish their products,” she said.
Nldovu said most of the finished products already have customers waiting to purchase them.
“In return, we give the participants 60 percent of the selling price of the product, which is their commission,” said the craft production officer.
The Craft production officer said the Bulawayo Home Industries welcomes anyone who is willing to work in the industry.
“Women are more interested in this compared to men and youths,” she said, adding that those who are fully equipped can work from their homes while those who still need to gain experience go to the industry.
“We have noted that women are the ones who are active in this programme. They start the product and finish it. Youths are trained but later disappear because they feel like it is taking their time because they want fast cash.”
Ndlovu mentioned that most of their customers are tourists or people based overseas.
“To appease these customers we also do market research so that we know what the customers want and then work on that. For instance, now, the market is interested in basketry, so we are doing the orders and we will sell these products overseas,”she said.
One of the residents who is a beneficiary stated that the project is helpful to her and her participation has since enabled her to work, be self-sustainable and take money home.
“This opportunity has also reduced Gender Based Violence in homes because women can supplement what their partners bring home,” said the resident.