NIMT offers “struggle kids” a new lease on life

Thanks to the Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) about 240 struggle kids have opportunities to further their skills. They now have prospects of landing a job and to start a career. Currently there are 62 struggle kids enrolled at various NIMT campuses.

“I decided that something must be done after I read an article in a newspaper a few years ago. The article was about desperate, young people who were chased away with a sjambok by the police”, explained Mr Eckart Mueller, Executive Director of NIMT in an interview with namib times. “It was then and there that I thought to myself such a thing should not happen in an independent Namibia.”
Soon thereafter Mueller held a meeting with Mr Jerry Ekandjo, Minister of Sport, Youth and National Service. During that meeting Mueller informed Ekandjo that NIMT would assist with the training of these Namibian youths. Ever since, the ministry is in partnership with NIMT and has been sending “struggle kids” to the centers to study.
Every six months about 60 struggle kids are enrolled at the various campuses in Namibia. There, they form part of the group of special trainees or early school leavers, where they attend a six months course. Currently NIMT is training them to become fitters and turners, diesel mechanics, welders, plumbers, brick layers and carpenters. Some are also receiving training in clothing manufacturing.
“We are really happy and grateful for this opportunity”, said one so-called struggle kid to namib times. Walking the NIMT Arandis campus it is impossible to distinguish between a normal trainee and a former struggle kid. At NIMT they are referred to as CLS or Children of the Liberation Struggle, but they receive no special treatment.
“They are fully integrated into the system. We have never had an incident with any one of them”, Mueller continued. Instead of seeing “struggle kids” as problem youth, Mueller sees these people as desperate. When they receive an opportunity to further themselves and are able to see a future, they are extremely grateful and make the most of it.
“It is a life opportunity and once I graduate I hope to get a job at a mine. I am very happy for this”, said another struggle kid. Most CLS’s at Arandis NIMT are between 29 and 35 years old. Another female struggle kid added: “I used to be a domestic worker, paying very little. Now I am learning to become a turner. I am very excited.”
The current intake, which started at NIMT in September, will complete their courses in April. After five years they can return and write a National Trade Test – thereafter they are fully fledged artisans in their respective professions.
“These people are only asking for an opportunity in life. I am only sad that we did not start with this earlier”, Mueller concluded.

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