28 April 2016
|Dalekile Nokulunga Khumalo, one of the graduates from the English class, addressing the rest of her graduating class from Arrupe Women's Centre. (Gushwell F. Brooks/Jesuit Refugee Service)|
|As diverse as the courses are, so too are the options of these graduates diverse in what they could accomplish with their education.|
Johannesburg, 28 April 2016 - Arrupe Women’s Centre in Johannesburg, held its first graduation for 2016 on the 22nd April. As always, the occasion was marked by optimistic festivity, with this group of graduating women fully appreciating that this extension on their education, is but one step toward financial independence, either through employment or entrepreneurship.
Dalekile Nokulunga Khumalo, one of the graduates from the English class emphasised the importance of one of the new additions to the courses offered by Arrupe Women’s Centre. “I am confident now, now I can speak to people.” she said in a brief address at the graduation ceremony. As one of the few South Africans that participated in the programme, Dalekile gained another invaluable experience, the opportunity to interact and meet people from other countries, linguistic backgrounds, cultures and religions. By including a few South Africans such as Dalekile into the programme, aimed at empowering refugees and asylum seekers, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), through programmes such as those offered through Arrupe’s Women’s Centre, creates an opportunity for social cohesion, dispelling much of the xenophobia and stigma that burden refugees and asylum seekers.
Through the support of the Fidel Goetz Foundation, JRS in South Africa was able to expand the programme to include other essential and innovative courses. English, being the lingua franca in South Africa, is essential and many refugees and asylum seekers that find their way to South Africa do not speak English in their countries of origin. The inclusion of this course gives refugees and asylum seekers access to local communities and a means to communicate with those that should extend a hand of hospitality.
In an ever increasing digital age, computer literacy is an essential skill in nearly any work environment. Therefore Arrupe Women’s centre now offers Computer classes that set a foundation for women to be able to harness technology. Those that obtain this skill can now use computers in their own businesses, in formal employment or can expand on this foundational knowledge in pursuit of further studies.
The beauty industry in South Africa’s major metropolitan hubs is an extremely lucrative one. It is an industry that can thrive with a business person running their own salon, or subleasing a single chair at a salon. Now Arrupe Women’s Centre has added cosmetology and hairdressing to its already impressive array of courses such as baking, sewing, English and computer classes.
The first graduating class of Arrupe Women’s Centre in Johannesburg, bare testimony to the many opportunities refugee and asylum seekers now have through the Vocational Skills Training (VST) programme, specifically designed to address the vulnerability of women. As diverse as the courses are, so too are the options of these graduates diverse in what they could accomplish with their education.
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