Barrick Lumwana Mining Company (LMC) has pledged to continue sponsoring youths in Kalumbila District in the acquisition of vocational skills under its elaborate alternative livelihood programme to empower residents who are unable to acquire employment in the mines.

The mining company believes in a holistic approach of empowering people in its host communities, hence the decision to identify youths in the three chiefdoms of Mukumbi, Matebo and Mumena to acquire vocational skills for alternative livelihoods.

LMC sustainability manager Christopher Mukala said that Barrick Lumwana is dedicated to sharing benefits with its host communities and will, therefore, continue pursuing avenues of providing sustainable life skills for the youths in the three chiefdoms in the mine’s operational area.

Speaking during the graduation of 30 youths sponsored by Barrick Lumwana Mining Company at Solwezi Trades Training Institute, Mukala explained that the mining company, through its technical and vocational training interventions, would continue to sponsor youths’ acquiring skills to give opportunities to those unable to work in the mine.

“The importance of vocational skills is experience, value and most importantly, empowerment. In most developing countries of the world where the youths leave schools and have to wander the street in search of jobs that have long dissipated—in such cases, vocational skill acquisition comes to the rescue. You should, therefore, use your acquired skills to better yourselves,” Mukala said.

He said that Barrick Lumwana realises that it only has a limited number of employment opportunities and feels obliged to deliberately introduce programmes that promote self-reliance in the local communities.

Mukala added that the completion of the four-month training in carpentry and joinery and metal fabrication by the 30 participants, sponsored by Barrick Lumwana, presented a sense of fulfilment and joy, giving them hope that they were now ready to take up vocational activities in their various communities.

He further outlined that Barrick Lumwana would continue working closely with community-based organisations, such as the Lumwana Community Business Association, Lumwana Agriculture Cooperative Union and Nsabo Yetu Federation to ensure that their members are adequately empowered in their lines of business.

Mukala also encouraged the youths to be innovative and focussed with their newly-acquired skills and seek opportunities that will allow them to become self-reliant rather than always looking for job opportunities at the mine.

The youths thanked Barrick Lumwana for the gesture and asked for start-up capital to set up their businesses so that their acquired skills can be put to good use.

“This is something that we never imagined could happen,” said the youths, speaking through their representative, Edson Luapula.

– Story courtesy of SUMA SYSTEMS.