Alisha Kalua comes from Mukhulu village in Traditional Authority Ntchindi in Mzimba district. She is 26 years old, married with one child.
In June 2018, she was enrolled for a six months basic Cobbler and Shoe Making course offered by DAPP Mikolongwe Vocational School at its Satellite Centre in Mzimba, under DAPP Mzimba Teachers Training College.
The six-month shoe making training equips young women and men with basic shoe making, repairing and entrepreneurial skills. Following her training at Mzimba Satellite Centre, Alisha had an opportunity to further advance the vocational training at Mikolongwe Vocational School campus in Chiradzulu, where she was trained for another six months in advanced shoe making course.
By course design, students receive start up tools in groups of three upon successful completion of the training. This is done to enable them to establish small scale businesses.
“After our training at Mzimba centre, we received start up tools which include a shoe sewing machine in a group of three to work as a trio, currently we are two of us renting this room and using the machine while the third person went to school for a training in another field,” said Alisha.
Alisha and her colleague are based in Euthini, an approximately 100 kilometres from Mzimba district council. A hard to reach area, she narrates that their challenge in their business has been finding materials especially different types of leather in order to produce materials that meet their customers’ demands.
However, she said operating in her area is also advantageous as the two are only ones that are making shoes in the area.
“We have a lot of customers here, it’s like almost all people that want a shoe made will come to us because we are the only ones producing shoes without much competition,” she said.
Alisha and her colleague have been operating their shops for less than three months at Euthini Trading centre. She said despite the setbacks that are materials for producing a variety of shoes, they are able to make more than 50 thousand Kwacha in a month.
They say as a team, their plan in the short term is to save up from their earnings and purchase materials in bulk which will enable them to meet the market demands.
The Cobbler and Shoe making course is a vocational training that benefits underprivileged young women and men. The aim is to equip them with skills and knowledge that will enable them start up a small scale business or secure an employment thereby alleviating their poverty.
The project is financed by Sympany of Netherlands and targets to reach 225 youth across the country.