KNA A shoemaker in Lumakanda town, Lugari Sub-County wants the youth to embrace vocational training institutions as a sure way of attaining economic independence.
Silas Mukhonje, who has mastered the art of making shoes of all kinds believes that thousands of young people getting out of school every year should join the vocational training centres proposed by the government to curb the ballooning unemployment epidemic among them.
Mukhonje says his life has dramatically changed since he completed his shoemaking technology course from Kakamega Vocational Training Centre in 2014.
“Immediately after I finished my course in 2014 I joined famous national shoemaking company Bata, which gave me life changing internship for one year before opening my own shoemaking in my village market of Lumakanda,” says Mukhonje.
He says his income has enabled him to sponsor his brother and sister to complete their secondary education.
“My parents sacrificed what they had for my education since I am the first born in family of five, so I decided to pay for my brother and sister who were secondary school in 2017,” confident Mukhonje told KNA at his shop in Lumakanda Market.
The 28-year-old shoemaker also confirmed that he was soon building house in a plot he bought last year.
Mukhonje says as he contemplates to marry soon but he has decided to move out of his father’s compound as sign of demonstrating hard work and prudent use of his resources to the parents and the community as a whole.
“I am now moving to my plot to build a house. I cannot continue staying in my fathers’ compound and yet I am capable of doing my own things,” says Mukhonje.
He says he started making and repairing shoes in 2016 with parents and students always camping in his shop for new shoes.
Mukhonje noted that people in Lumakanda and the environs have trusted him to make shoes for their children joining form one and even those in primary schools.
He however revealed that his business was also affected by the Covid-19 last year.
“My business was affected by coronavirus from last year. My customers mainly derived from school going students and teachers who either wanted new shoes or get their old ones repaired were now at home,” says Mukhonje.
He says he gets between Sh5, 000 to Sh10, 000 in a month from his business. Mukhonje revealed that he can expand further if he gets financial support to secure space and also bring on board young men interested in making shoes.
The shoemaker also complained of unstable prices of his shoe making materials. He says his suppliers in Eldoret and Nairobi have constantly been reviewing prices upwards which has affected the prices of shoes to his customers.
Mukhonje proposed that the government should put more resources in the vocational training colleges in the country because they offer artisan and technical courses to millions of youths as opposed to colleges offering limited line of training with only those with specific qualifications.
He expressed confidence that the rate of crime within his village and country as a whole will be reduced if more youths throng technical training centres to learn specific trades for their livelihoods.