NEWS

GARDENERS' JOURNEY TO BECOME CARPENTERS2012-02-22

Gardeners showing off their new skills
The gardeners we trained in furniture making have fully developed themselves into competitive carpenters. Two of them have left their jobs and have migrated to their rural homes, from where they are working as carpenters, reunited with their extended families. The rest have formed a cooperative of gardeners in Harare's suburbs, working as carpenters in whatever spare time they can find.

They are making cupboards, kitchen units, coffee tables, bed bases etc. for low to middle income customers. The high income customers and schools are also calling them to carry out furniture repairs. The demand is high, and they cannot currently meet it all due to limited time and capital. They're getting there gradually though! They are looking for an affordable workshop. They have already successfully repaid their first microfinance loan from SEED and we are hoping to make them another soon.

Most of these gardeners would like to stay in their jobs only until they are able to be self sufficient in their own carpentry businesses. They said what they are getting from their employers for gardening per month is what they can get per week if they set up their own business. We have, however, advised them to be careful not to rush because their employment comes with free accommodation.

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