Isaya Dickson: A Mechanic with a Purpose
WHEN Isaya Dickson studied to be a mechanic two years ago, he thought he had gained something that would help him be allowed to fix cars straight away. However, when he tried entering the job market, he realized how wrong he was. In short, nobody wanted to hire him, and it made him devastated.
Two years later, nineteen year old Isaya has gained hope again and expects to be allowed to enter the job market with open arms. All this is due to a program run by KIHUMBE, a local NGO in Mbeya, funded by USAID through DAI Imarisha. The program is aimed at supporting young people like Isaya who were once being supported by another phased-out USAID-funded program for Most Vulnerable Children (MVC).
Isaya who has been taken care of by his grandmother after both his parents passed away more than nine years ago, recalls how lucky he was upon completing his primary education, when the village chairman informed him that he was identified as a Most Vulnerable Child, and would therefore undergo training as a mechanic at KIHUMBE. However, two years upon graduating, no garage was ready to take him in.
“They told me that I did not have the experience and did not know how to use the latest technology that was now on market. Some even wanted me to buy my own tool box that costs around 200,000 shillings, and I did not have that kind of money. I ended up going back to my grandmother, and living at her mercy,” he explains.
A year later when KIHUMBE recalled him for the incubation program, Isaya’s hopes came back. He is now in the final stages of the program, and he prides himself of being a real mechanic due to the year-long experience he has gained, and the latest technology he has learned. He is confident that the change, together with a recommendation from KIHUMBE will definitely lead to a lucrative job.
The young man who has two other siblings does not have his eyes set for employment alone. “My aim is to own my own garage,” he says, adding: “It will be here in Mbeya. I have no plans of establishing it anywhere else, as I need to be here to take care of my grandmother. If it weren’t for this incubation program, I would have got engaged in illegal activities because life was getting too unbearable.”
The foreman at the KIHUMBE Incubation Centre, Alpha Mhapa says that 30 students were recalled for the incubation program, and it has been very helpful to them because they are now capable of fixing cars and motorcycles without any close supervision.
She explains that whenever they get customers, the students are left to deal with the matter, and they have proven to be very good at the job. Furthermore, she says, 12 of the students have already found jobs at different garages in Mbeya City, Kyela, Tukuyu and Iringa.
With this kind of program, young people like Isaya will be able to focus on making a decent living, instead of engaging in illegal activities that could eventually shorten their lives.