Helping hand for Men on the Side of the Road

03 November 2020 | Society

A growing unemployment rate, due in part to the multiple full and partial lockdowns, and social distancing regulations has made it increasingly difficult for Men on the Side of the Road (MSR) to function as a catalyst focused on the facilitation of access to employment for its members.
This non-profit organisation, started in 2007 to provide men sitting on the side of the road an opportunity to improve their skills and a chance in the job market, contributing to the reduction of the Namibian unemployment rate.
Over the last four months, Capricorn Group and Bank Windhoek have provided support to MSR, to the value of N$141 000 aimed at enabling them to continue fulfilling their mandate, which is recruiting motivated unemployed individuals and providing them with life skills training, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship.
However, Covid-19 created many challenges, resulting in MSR not being able to send members for vocational training, as training institutions were closed and a decline in funding had a knock-on effect, resulting in many MSR members remaining unemployed.
Despite these challenges, 18 members were registered with Namcol to re-write their Grade 12 examinations. A further five members were registered with Women at Work for hospitality training, one more with COSDEF for graphic design and another 10 for basic computer training.
A total of 55 MSR members held jobs between April and September, of which 53 were temporary placements and two full-time positions,” said MSR member Martha Apollus. “MSR relies on its successes as inspiration to continue making a difference. MSR placed me in a restaurant where I worked as a chef. After the restaurant closed, the MSR office helped me find a job placement again at one of the mines. Currently, I am employed as a security guard and a driver for the crew. I am grateful for the support and assistance from MSR,” she said.
The organisation currently has a member base of 1 736 of which 259 are members registered in Swakopmund and recently expanded its scope to include all unemployed people, including women. There is a lot to do and so much more can be done.
“Change doesn’t happen overnight but initiating it can happen in a second. It is up to us to catalyse these opportunities so that we can make an impact during such trying times,” said Marlize Horn, Executive Officer: Brand & Corporate Affairs.
Individuals, groups or organisations wishing to support this cause can contact Crystal Beukes, chief executive of MSR at 0812406368 or email [email protected]

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