Lubwe Youth Skills Training Centre


The long held dream of a Skills Centre for young people was brought to our attention by Abraham Kasongo. On our visit, in 2005 he took us to a dilapidated building in which was a barricaded store. It housed a remarkable stash of boxes full of dusty but new tools in red metal tool boxes. These had apparently been donated to the village some seven years previously, by the government of the time in order to set up a training centre.

As happens with so many things in Africa, the government then changed, or ran out of money, and the Training Centre never happened. The elders of the village had kept the tools safely stored and their dream of a training institute alive for all those years.

Eddy, David, Mike and I were very impressed by the committee and Hadrian Mweni, who had gathered to meet us, and to ask our help to make an application to the British High Commission in Lusaka for a £10,000 grant to make the training centre a reality.

There was apparently, to be one development grant for the region that year. We helped them fill in the forms and Mike and I made a presentation to the High Commission in Lusaka. Unfortunately, after much deliberation, the grant went to a farming based project in the area, and their long held dreams were dashed.

Mike and I were gutted for them, as they had such hopes, as did we, and we felt they had the drive and ability to make a real difference for the future. Mike and I decided that they deserved the chance and we told them that an ‘Anonymous Donor’ had been found in the UK. We sent them the money between us and the Lubwe Youth Skills Training Centre opened, three years ago.

Since then, although no funding has been forthcoming, the Zambian Government has made a major donation of heavy equipment. This was handed over during a visit by Government ministers, giving cause for great celebration in the surrounding area. A Production Unit at the Centre now makes windows, doors, tables etc. and undertakes small building projects.

The area around the village supports 45,000 people amongst whom are hundreds of potential students for the various courses run.

These include: 
Cutting and Tailoring
Building and Ornamental Brickwork
Carpentry & joinery
and now Basic Computer use

We would like to add Welding and Metalwork and a once off - Basic Electrical Knowledge.

Now three years on, whilst still very much dependant our help, it has provided help, training, skills and inspiration to many, many young people. With a trade or skill, they can support a family and have hope for the future. Please help us to continue to support their wonderful achievements.

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