Plumbing course taps new opportunities for women

Seriti Skills Development’s Igsaan Hugo watches over his students as they show off their newly acquired plumbing skills.

More than 20 women from Khayelitsha, Langa, Gugulethu, Mitchell’s Plain and other communities celebrated their completion of a 13-week plumbing course, at the JL Zwane Community Centre, in Gugulethu, on Saturday.

The free course, which is geared for residents of communities with high unemployment, especially women, is run by Rainbow Education and Skills Development, a non-profit organisation, with instruction provided by Igsaan Hugo, of Siriti Skills Development, another NPO.

The course also taught the women basic business skills.

“I believe that I am a better person now after this. I have never done plumbing before, but I feel like an expert right now. I know a lot of things. I will no longer hire plumbers instead I will be hired,” said Sethu Gwanya, of Langa, who applied for the course after seeing it advertised on Facebook.

Thandeka Koba, of KTC, said they could now start their own businesses and help their neighbours.

“I am glad because I will manage my own plumbing instead of having to pay a plumber. I feel powered and very independent.”

Mr Hugo said the course created opportunities for women from disadvantaged areas.

“We not only teach them business skills but also teach them about abuse. We want them to know that abuse is a two-way thing. There are men who are abusive to their partners, and there are women who are also abusive. But we mainly aimed at women who want to be independent.”

The course was in demand and would soon run in Makhaza, Khayelitsha, he said.

Rainbow Education and Skills Development’s Nokubonga Mepeni said the course empowered women and created work for them.

“We are in areas where unemployment is high. Now they will be able to fix taps and install cisterns and other things and make money.”

From left, Sisanda Mphumela, of Nyanga; Thandeka Koba, of KTC; and Nomasizakhe Buthi, of Gugulethu.
Some of the women who attended the plumbing course.