Over 25 people with disabilities in Mchinji District will learn vocational skills through the STEP bursary programme run by Development and Integration of Persons with Disabilities (DIPD) with funding from European Union.

The vocational skills that will be taught are bakery, tailoring, hair dressing salon, cell phone repair and barbershop and carpentry.

The beneficiaries of the project are youths and adults between the ages of 16-27 years from Mchaisi area in Mchinji district.

Morgan Silungwe, Director of DIPD and facilitator said the training curriculum will also include life skills training that will help them cope with the challenges in the job market.

The beneficiaries were excited with the bursary programme.

Fred Boston from Kasanda Village, Traditional Authority Dambe in Mchinji says the skills to be acquired will empower him economically.

“I have hearing impairment, and at the moment I am not doing anything. If I learn tailoring, I will be financially empowered,” he said

According to Boston, he is struggling as he does not have the means to support himself.  By learning to be a tailor, I can be independent.

Another beneficiary is Chikondi Kaunda who intends to do hairdressing.

“I am 26 years old and I want to learn hairdressing skills. After acquiring the skills, I will open a salon,” Kaunda said.

Gender and Education Specialist for Skills and Technical Education Program (STEP) Jean Munro says the aim of the project is to ensure that people with disabilities are financially independent.