- TUI Care Foundation helps build a secure network for Namibian women from challenging backgrounds.
- 20 girls passionate about sports find career paths in the hospitality sector
In May 2018, the first group of girls graduated from the TUI Academy after a full year of training in the hospitality sector. They are also passionate football players, some of which are playing professionally at the Namibia women's national football league.
Anna-Marie Shikusho and Melissa Eises are two of them. The former plays as a striker, while the latter is the goalkeeper of the team. They are also close friends, having met many years ago in their childhood playing at a local football pitch in Katutura, a poor suburb of the Namibian capital of Windhoek.
Both of them are now working in management positions at a renowned hotel in Windhoek. But how did these two young avid football players end up working in the hospitality sector?
Without a school degree, their job chances were slim. So Anna-Marie and Melissa submitted their application at the “NFA Girls Center” of the Namibian Football Association. With the support of the “Sport for Development” programme of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, both of them - and together with other ten girls - were awarded a training scholarship by the TUI Care Foundation in 2017.
Anna-Marie (23) explains: “Football is my passion. I started, when I was 9 years old. We did not have shoes or a real ball. My parents did not like it at all, that I started playing football. They said, it was a boys’ game. But later they supported me. The Girls Centre changed my life, kept me away from the wrong friends, kept me away from alcohol and drugs.”
Melissa Eises is 21 years old and lives with her mother and siblings, all of whom are currently unemployed. Talking about her new position as Junior Manager of the Hotel Thule, she adds: “It feels great to give my family something in return and to support them financially. I can buy groceries and give my younger siblings some pocket money. Here, I have learnt that it is worth to following your dreams and stick to it.” She tells us that, while she will keep on playing football, she has now decided to fully dedicate herself to building a career in the hospitality sector and dreams of eventually managing her own small hotel.
Concerning the economically active population, youth unemployment is over 40%. Regarding females specifically, this figure stands at 49.9%, a number significantly greater than male youth unemployment (currently at 37.5%). This is a delicate situation, which the ever growing tourism industry in Namibia may help to tackle.
“There is a strong demand for well-trained professional staff in Namibia. The successful training will therefore provide the students with excellent job opportunities”, says Thomas Ellerbeck, Chairman of the Board of the TUI Care Foundation. Experience has shown that this is true: Half of the young women had already signed their first job contract by the beginning of the year for employment in the hospitality sector.
The students, who in some cases need to start from scratch and learn how to handle cutlery, take classes covering a wide array of topics including theoretical and practical training. Courses range from “Safety at Work” and “Food & Beverage Service Skills”, to a final assignment that consists of conducting a research project on a relevant industry-related topic, which is completed in the second half of the programme and submitted at the end of the internship. Depending on the course length (6 months or a full year of training), the girls receive a Certificate or a Diploma. With regard to the latter, students are also officially prepared to handle payments, supervise staff and will have received advanced training on customer service and resource management in food and beverage.
The second group of girls taking part in the TUI Academy programme in Namibia have now finished the first part of their training and, in June, have initiated their internships in renowned hotels and lodges in Namibia. Among them is Agnes Kauzuu, another goal keeper for the Namibia national women’s team, who decided to take the chance offered by the TUI Care Foundation. Currently, she is conducting the last part of her training, completing an internship at a four star hotel near downtown. At the reception desk of the Safari Court Hotel, she explains: “We are passionate about what we do. But you sometimes have to go an extra mile to reach your goal.”
She is confident she will follow the steps of her teammates, Anna-Marie and Melissa, who received their first job offers right after finishing their internships.
The TUI Academy programme is a global initiative of the TUI Care Foundation, providing fair chances for young people to initiate career paths, as well as helping to build support structures for those in need. The programme is also currently running in Zanzibar and Dominican Republic. New launches will also be announced soon. Only in the Dominican Republic, the TUI Care Foundation, in cooperation with Plan International, will provide, in the following three years, 150 disadvantaged girls and boys with a one-year vocational training course preparing them for work in the field of tourism. Furthermore, a top-up educational programme will be offered which, other than providing employment skills, will also include education on sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender-related issues, work safety and financial literacy. This way, the TUI Academy programme will help young people to protect themselves from exploitation and make better-informed decisions about their future lives.