SOS Children’s Villages Eswatini signed a partnership agreement with Junior Achievement (JA) Eswatini. This initiative saw the formation of three companies namely; Ekutfokomeni Youth Pride Company from Siteki, Vigour Development Company from Nhlangano and Revolution of the Youngsters from Mbabane. These companies are owned by a total of 109 young people from the MA where 52 are from Siteki, 32 from Nhlangano and 25 from Mbabane Programme Locations. That is not all as the whole Programme is divided into two sections in each location.
For youth aged between 13 and 15 the offering is financial literacy, where the youngsters are given a chance to participate as Lubane Cooperative Society members and holders of student accounts at Eswatini Bank. The Mini Companies mentioned above belong to the young people who are aged 16 and above. Aimed at empowering young people, the mini companies are formed to equip members with financial and entrepreneurship skills, including starting income generating projects over a managed period of time (normally 10 weeks) from start to liquidation. They buy shares and use that amount as start-up capital for their income generating projects. After liquidation, these companies compete against other mini companies formed by students in different schools. The competitions start in Regions where the top four schools then compete nationally. SOS youth were new players in the game, but this did not stop them from entering the competitions.
Ekutfokomeni Youth Pride Company obtained second position and a trophy in the Lubombo Region after showcasing their company which produces broiler chickens and peanut butter. Vigour Development Company obtained position 6 in the Shiselweni Region and the products they produce are hand/dish washing liquid and broilers while Revolution of the Youngsters produces African jewellery and other pieces of art and they obtained position 5 in the Hhohho Region.
These companies are composed of highly motivated, focused, vibrant and committed boys and girls who need minimum supervision. They surprised their facilitators by working extra hard and respecting the leaders that they chose amongst themselves as Executive Committee Members. All shareholders were cooperative and goal driven until the end.
By history and perception, children who find themselves in the hands of SOS Children’s Villages, depend solely on donors, that is, money just comes from donors and young people are supposed to sit back and watch the donor carry them all the steps of their lives without putting in any effort. These company initiatives are here to overturn such a perception and get youth to align themselves with the mission statement of SOS Children’s Villages “We build families for children in need, we help them shape their own futures and we share in the development of their communities”. These companies aim at strengthening the capability of youth to shape their own futures through financial empowerment and entrepreneurship.`