Like all of you over this last week or so, we’ve been struggling to make sense of what’s taking place in America and the acceptance that discrimination, not just of skin colour but its many other forms, continues to take place all over the world.
While the pandemic is giving many of us time and space to reflect, it’s deeply saddening that our immediate thoughts are of contempt with the mindless brutality and complete lack of humanity we have witnessed. It’s no longer acceptable to condone this on the grounds of it being a ‘minority group of people’. We view the totally justified protests taking place as a sign that as a society, enough is enough.
Our goal with the blog section of EcoHonesty.com was always to focus on positive contributions taking place around the world and never become a soap box of negativity. So, for each of the next five days, we will write about five remarkable beacons of light from people in black communities, who are making change happen. #blacklivesmatter
Introducing Paulina Alfeus, Namibia
Recycling oil drums into furniture was the brainwave of young female entrepreneur Paulina Alfeus. Drums and other pieces of scrap metal, that would otherwise be discarded, are instead fabricated into practical and saleable products.
The unemployment rate in Namibia stood at 33.4% as of 2018. Youth unemployment was 46.1%. Work was, and still is, hard to find and this was the position Paulina found herself in.
But rather than viewing her lack of work as an unbreakable challenge, Paulina used it as an opportunity to do something with her life that she was truly passionate about. And that was industrial fabrication – the art of turning waste into something of beauty and use.
A Positive Governmental Solution – #blacklivesmatter
It’s worth explaining a little about the educational background of Namibia. Back in 2004, the Namibian Government introduced Entrepreneurship into the curriculum of all schools, and by 2008 pupils were studying it up to 10th grade. They knew that in a country of 2.4 million people, where jobs are scarce, young people need to be equipped with self-starting skills. So, to some extent, decisions made at Government level are a factor to Paulina’s individual success (can someone explain this to The White House).
In a research study conducted by researchers from The Eastern Norway Research Institute (ENRI), 80% of young Namibians under the age of 25 either run or intend to run their own business in the near future. With circa 54% of this age in work, then proportionately around 24% of working Namibians still intend to launch their own enterprise.
Power Six Investment
The company Paulina heads up is called Power Six Investment cc and is a team of six people – hence the name. It’s gender balanced – three men and three women, all are Namibian and all are young and energetic. They describe their technical skill as boilermaker artisans. Their finished products are locally sourced, affordable and of high quality.
As you might expect, they have big ambitions for the future. Their objective is to launch a series of shops around Namibia from which they can promote and sell their furniture. Indeed, selling outside of Namibia is not ruled out. These are courageous, self-motivated and highly driven young people, determined to create positive change for their country, the planet and themselves.
Paulina is pragmatic about how she views the challenge of getting into business – “do what you are passionate about, do what you like, something you can enjoy doing and that way money will just show up in the process.” We couldn’t agree more!
Recycling on EcoHonesty
Closer to our home, OC Gear are a fabulous designer and retailer of sportswear made from recycled plastic. Their garments are sustainable, address a major global challenge and are affordable. What’s more, half of their profit is given to their charitable conservation partners.
Credits for this post
We wish to credit Lionesses of Africa for their original article and also reference the ENRI study written by Johansen and Lundhaug (2016). Finally, we’d like to thank @LaunchNamibia for their photo of Paulina.