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By: Ketemba Tjipepa

In a celebration of determination and resilience, the Women at Work Training Centre in Windhoek witnessed a milestone as seven students, including three inmates on parole from the Windhoek Correctional Facility, graduated from their three-month dress-making and pattern-designing course today. 

The graduation ceremony, themed “New Beginnings,” marked a significant step forward for individuals often forgotten and neglected by society.

Among the graduates were five women and two men who completed the intensive programme, mastering skills in hand-sewing, operating various sewing machines, and creating intricate patterns. The graduates showcased the skills they acquired during the course by wearing their own-designed attire at the graduation.

In an interview with NewsOnOne, Mervin Mokwena, 36, a former inmate released on parole last year after serving 18 months for theft, expressed his ambitions to start a business selling tracksuits, school uniforms, and other clothing. Mokwena is dedicated to providing job opportunities for young people.

“I will try to open up my business by making tracksuits or school uniforms, which I will sell to members of society while uplifting them as well as creating job opportunities for fellow youth,” stated Mokwena.

Another graduate, 36-year-old Patricia Gowases, who served six months for attempted theft and is currently on parole, reflected on her uncertain future due to a lack of resources.

“I learned a lot, but the only problem for now is that I don’t know what is the way forward because I don’t have a sewing machine or anything. If I get machinery, I will start my own business, and I am sure I will no longer buy clothes because I will make them,” said Gowases.

Gowases encouraged the former inmates not to be deterred by criticism when pursuing their goals.