Olopeng Urges Youth to Seize Opportunities

| May 26, 2015

The Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Mr Thapelo Olopeng has urged Ngamiland youth to change their mindset and grab every available opportunity to uplift their livelihoods.

He said during the launch of the Barclays Youth Education and Empowerment Project (YEEP) which is popularly known as Tweende, which means “Lets Get Up and Go” in various local vernacular.

The project which was implemented by Barclays Bank Botswana in partnership with UNAIDS and Project Concern International (PCI) aims at providing employability and income generating opportunities and reduce youth vulnerability to social ills including HIV in Ngamiland East.

The initiative was funded by Barclays to the tune of over P1 million. Mr Olopeng said young people should understand that things do not happen as always expected and aised them to exercise patience, vigilance, commitment and perseverence.

He said they should stop blaming their geographical, family and educational backgrounds and explore available opportunities that come their way.

“It is my dream to see young Batswana actively venturing in tourism projects and owning big industries which would eventually contribute to the economy of this country,” he added.

Furthermore, the minister assured the youths that the government would make efforts to avail resources to ensure their active participation in the development of this country.

Mr Olopeng noted that the government introduced various empowerment schemes geared towards addressing the plight of young people.

He said the schemes cater for youth with diverse interest and ambitions and pointed out that like any organisation, the government faces resource constraints due to competing needs of the population and therefore could not afford to cover all the young people.

Furthermore, he revealed that the schemes are mostly generic and not targeted to specific regions and socio-economic challenges. He however, hailed the project implementing organisations for a job well done noting that partnerships with the private sector and NGOs provide the best solution to fill in the gaps and also provide more localised solutions.

Mr Olopeng expressed gratitude that Barclays Bank and PCI are undertaking the project in Ngamiland and assured the two organisations his great support.

The project target unemployed youth aged between 18 and 35 years of age in Ngamiland East because of their peculiar economic and social hardships and it started in December 2014 and expected to end in November 2015.

For her part, the managing director of Barclays Bank, Ms Reinette van der Merwe explained that Tweende project forms an integral part of the Barclays strategy on youth employability, enterprise and financial literacy skills.

“This has been our primary focus under our ‘Five Million Young Futures’ strategy which is in its final year,” she said. The project which is implemented with local NGO partners such as Botswana Family Welfare Association and Youth in Business Botswana equipped young people with skills that could help them be active and participating citizens in the development of the country.

Ms Merwe commended the private sectors which have heeded the call from her organisation to join in and support the project. She said the project is an investment in the youth as it would mould them into employable people and entrepreneurs who would change the landscape of business in Maun and the country at large.

She challenged the beneficiaries to remain focused and have confidence that they would indeed succeed.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Human Rights

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