Monday, March 1, 2021

Olopeng Urges Youth to Seize Opportunities

They youth in Maun were this week commended for showing an upper hand in the development of their district which is known world wide for being rich in natural resources. Minister of Youth Sport and Culture Thapelo Olopeng made mention that he has in recent years, long before he even became minister learnt that Maun youth are more advanced in various disciplines, amongst them farming,entreneurship,arts to mention but a few.
Speaking at the official launch of the Tweende Youth Education and Empowerment Project (YEEP) in Maun, Olopeng said the time has come for the youth to look around and discover their hidden talents, which once realised will assist in growing the economy of Botswana as a country. He said the youth in Maun should not blame their non progression on the geographical location of their district, their family or even their educational background as these are instead opportunities presented to them. He commended Barclays Bank for having stepped in and shown their desire to be of assistance as this will be of great benefit to the youth, particularly as they will also be given financial advice and empowerment. “Opportunities like these come just once. So all you need is to use them effectively. Grab and don’t release until you have reached your goals. I have a dream. That dream is to see you owning the mining and the tourism sectors, as well as venturing into big businesses. This is your country, your economy, so work for its growth. I assure you today that as long as I am still minister, I will be working with you from time to time to ensure you are considerably facilitated”, said the minister.
For her part, Barclays Bank Managing Director Reinette Van Der Merwe said the Tweende project forms a very fundamental part of the bank’s strategy on youth employability, enterprise and financial literacy skills. In developing the project with the United Nations Programme on HIV AIDS (UNAIDS) and Project Concern International (PCI), Van der Merwe said their aim was to ensure that development work is tackled through a multi prolonged approach, also taking into consideration that the Tweende project brings together the three pillars of the public, private and the development sector. Furthermore, she commended the private sector for the role it played by joining and supporting the project, saying their continued support is proof that they will without hesitation help participants and other qualifying youth with job placements once available.
She said “At Barclays we believe in empowering people in entrepreneurial skills as they are critical in helping the youth graduate from high levels of poverty. We have also taken it upon ourselves to see to it that we encourage them to engage in meaningful economic wealth creation pathways. I am told the youth in this area are susceptible to so many challenges as compared to youth in other areas, and that’s where we step in so that we help change them into better people”.
The YEEP project, which received P1, 241,307 funding from Barclays Bank, is an initiative that targets unemployed youth of ages ranging from 18-35 and assists them with internship placements as well as life skills so as to increase business sustainability for those seeking to run their own businesses. All the recruited youth in this project are from Ngamiland East .Their selection was based on their vulnerability to social ills that include HIV/AIDS as well as the peculiar and social hardships faced by the youth in this tourism area. The project covers the critical development areas of Financial Literacy, Social and life skills, Youth Employment Program, and Business Start Ups all targeting the youth.
Meanwhile BOCCIM member and Chairperson of Maun Business Council James Evans urged project participants to learn basic skills such as setting own goals and being able to plan. By so doing, he said they will be better placed even when money starts coming in as they will be well versed with handling their own finances. He said the youth should also know also that profits are not made to be consumed the next day, otherwise they might not be able to sustain their businesses, adding they should make it a point also that they save for contingencies.

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