Chinji is a beneficiary of the Airtel Fursa, an empowerment programme dedicated to the youth.
It was all joy for Nongona residents in Dodoma who gathered to witness the official handover of a modern carpentry workshop and tools to the youthful carpenter, ending his three years of hard labour using manual tools.
Speaking with The Guardian in an interview yesterday, Fikiri said the support had raised his morale and now he was looking forward to becoming one of the best carpenters in the area because he would be able to expand his activities and empower fellow youths.
Through the youth empowerment programme, Fikiri this week got modern working facilities valued at Sh 9.5million, thanks to Airtel Tanzania.
His dream of becoming a carpenter was almost shattered when he dropped out of a Vocational Education and Training Centre in 2007 due to lack of fees.
The sixth born in a family of three sisters and four boys, he completed primary school in 2006 and joined the Dodoma VETA centre in 2007, but dropped out only three months later as his poor parent could not raise the fees.
“It was a painful experience but I remained focused, hoping that one day something good would come my way,” said the delighted Fikiri.
With determination to become a carpenter, he joined a local workshop, assisting senior carpenters and learning the skills. Two years later he had mastered all the skills and could easily work on his own and was advised to open his own workshop.
Lack of capital was a setback to him and instead of opening a workshop, he resorted to farming in an effort to get money to buy working tools. He succeeded and bought some few tools and started a carpentry workshop about three years ago.
But with the new and modern tools from Airtel, Fikiri plans to bring on board at least two assistants, who will undergo on-the-job training to assist him meet the increasing responsibilities in his office.
His humble advice to fellow youths is that they should focus on development activities, urging them to stop complaining while doing nothing to change their situation.
He challenged the government and other well-wishers to come up with programmes aimed at changing the living conditions of the youth in the country
Speaking with this reporter after the handover, Airtel Tanzania Public Relations and Events Officer Dangio Kaniki said the communication company was out to improve the lives of youths through the programme.
She said Airtel Fursa enables youth to divert their challenges into self-employment opportunities rather than waiting to be employed or keeping complaining that there are no jobs.
Ms Kaniki said, “We decided to focus on youth because of their passion and willingness to fight to improve their businesses and we believe that they will make big improvement after getting this entrepreneurship training from Airtel Fursa”.
“I encourage other youths to prepare business ideas without waiting for someone to provide money. They should begin to organize themselves and respond to the opportunities available in their areas like the one we have received today,” she added.
Since the beginning of the Airtel Fursa entrepreneurship training for youth more than ten regions have benefited.