Prepared: 23March 2021
For: Immediate Release
Fashion Designer and Founder of Ganu Designs, Nkanyezi Malunga is spearheading a fashion project that seeks to share information on COVID-19 with women in rural areas while simultaneously empowering them with skills on how to produce masks, for their families and the community.
The project running under the name “Vikela” is expected to train a total of 150 women within the age group range of 25-50 in Tsholotsho, Nyamandlovu, UMzingwane, Lupane and Matobo (30 women in each cluster). The trainings will aim to teach the women on the production of protective clothing (i.e.masks) in an easy format they will grasp quickly and be able share with other women in the community. In the same event, healthcare professionals will be given a platform to address women and educate them on the different aspects of COVID-19, which include but not limited to symptoms, care and prevention tools/ mechanisms as well as demystifying myths associated to the vaccination.
The end game of Vikela is to enable women to have sustainable recurring streams of income which will allow for them to diversify into other elements of protective clothing production to the extent that they can supply immediate communities.
Commenting on the project, Nkanyezi Malunga highlighted: “The training will be conducted in such a manner that is easy for women to share knowledge with other women, thus capturing and empowering a larger segment of the women when the project is long done. When this project comes to an end, we hope that it would have empowered women to be able to generate revenue from this social enterprise going forth. We want to see women in their prime productivity, fending for their families while contributing to the local economy. There is a huge gap in the production and supply of protective clothing. Therefore, beyond this training, women should be able to feed into the supply chain of protective clothing which also covers other sectors such as mining and agriculture.”
Working in partnership with the American Embassy, Malunga who is also a Mandela Washington Fellow raised hopes of the project promoting social inclusion and tolerance of underserved communities, such as the rural communities and also empowering women to actively participate in leadership and economic activities. She quantified the advantage that rural women have regarding their vast indigenous knowledge systems and the need to be innovative with it within the sustainable fashion framework for an improved revenue stream.
The project is expected to kick start on the 29th of March 2021.
Compiled by Keith Moyo
Project Communications Co-ordinator