SOUTH AFRICA-BASED Zimbabwean top model Mercy Kamanura has challenged young local women to be innovative if they are to survive under the current harsh economic climate in the country.

Kamanura, the founder of Mimi’s Empowerment Centre, yesterday told NewsDay Life &Style that she was pursuing several projects to train girls and young women from different backgrounds in Zimbabwe and South Africa in essential skills to improve their income-generating capacity.

“The training projects under Mimi’s Empowerment Centre are to capacitate them with life entrepreneurial skills which will help them make great exploits for personal growth and individual empowerment. The way the economic environment is in Zimbabwe is such that it requires innovation, life skills and an inclusive economy,” she said.

“The projects are meant to continuously empower communities with essential development skills through vocational training along with various measures such as strategies to improve household incomes.”

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The model, who was recently hired by SOS Children’s Village, an organisation that provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children in need and protects their interests and rights around the world, to train people from different backgrounds, said she was pleased with the results so far.

“About 750 people have so far been trained and are running their own enterprises in Zimbabwe and South Africa. This initiative is a life changer, that will make a huge impact on the lives of many individuals through provision of start-up capital and identification of lucrative markets and marketing of the products,” she said.

“Among the products being made under Mimi’s Empowerment Centre are rugs, mats, handbags and shoe-coating.”

She said they were currently working on a project to train women to make their own sanitary pads.

“We are still in the process of acquiring the machine from India, but that is also going to be another project which will capacitate women and the girl child,” she said.

Kamanura, who is also the brains behind Nothing But Pad Campaign that saw her distributing sanitary pads to vulnerable girls across the country, has spread her wings into perfume production.