By Tendai Guvamombe (Harare)

Emencildah Muyengi, Samantha Chinhengo and Memory Zinyoni are some of the beneficiaries of the Harare Urban Youth Economic Empowerment (HUYE), a programme championed by Plan International Zimbabwe with the aim of rescuing young people from the COVID-19 doldrums and the surging effects of drug abuse.

The trio are now a source of inspiration to many young women from Ruben in Epworth after they managed to establish three business initiatives with a US 20.00 dollars investment that each of them contributed to.

The capacity building programme held under the Harare Urban Youth Economic Empowerment (HUYE) initiative was more than enough for the three to realize their potential.

After a successful completion of skills development programme in beauty therapy around September last year, the trio established their own project trending under the banner Elevated Harvest.

Emencildah Muyengi narrated their amazing journey on how a $US20 investment transformed their lifestyles.

“The three of us attended skills development programmes which were provided by Plan International Zimbabwe under the HUYE Programme. We excelled in beauty therapy for a period of about six months. We were also taught on business leadership, entrepreneurship, book keeping and among other skills development courses. Around September 2022, the three of us decided to venture into beauty therapy where we started with US 20. 00 dollars. Out of all these I am glad to tell you that we are now generating more than 60 USD per week from nails.”

Having fully established beauty therapy and nails under the banner Elevated Harvest, the trio realized their potentials to expand into mushroom farming since they were now having the much needed capital to venture into the project.

This kick started around December when they embarked on the new project. This was further necessitated by the capacities acquired during the trainings held by Plan International. Samantha Chinhengo aged 23, one of the team members of Elevated Harvest told this publication that Mushroom Farming is part of the future of their growing initiatives especially when considering the establishment of a market base in Epworth and Harare’s Central Business District (CBD).

“We started mushroom farming around 25 December last year and we made our first harvest on 25 February this year. What I can say is that this mushroom farming is now the fastest growing business initiative on all our projects. As I am speaking, we have a huge market in Epworth and Harares Central Business District.”

The trio are privileged to have the support of their husbands who at times are found in the way of distributing mushroom products to various market places. This has further been complemented by the support they get from parents who allowed them to establish their projects at their homes.

“Our husbands used to think that we don’t have capacities and strength to run these projects but when we generated something from the first two projects that is when they developed confidence in us. Today they are also assisting in ferrying the mushroom products to various market places. On the other hand, all our parents are supporting us. I can tell you that one of my brothers is actually assisting me in building a workshop block at our house so that we expand our mushroom projects,” Emencildah Muyengi said.

When this publication visited number 1561 A Zinyengere Extension Epworth, we witnessed the mushroom farming and beauty therapy taking place.

The trio have also started another project on chicken production at the same place.

According to Memory Zinyoni aged 34 women were looked down upon because of negative perceptions which limit them from progressing to higher levels of success.

“Negative perceptions affect our confidence and this is the reason why we are not progressing as women. Thank God the coming of Plan International awakened our mindsets and today we are a complete different people in the society where we come from.”

The trio has allocated roles of leadership in their business initiatives.

Emencildah Muyengi is the Chairperson, Samantha Chinhengo as the Marketing Personnel while Memory Zinyoni is the Treasurer.

Apart from this, the three have also registered a sports association with the Zimbabwe Youth Council (ZYC) where they are transforming mindsets of other fellow youths from harmful practices. This has been functional since December 2022.