Saturday 15 May 2021
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‘Penduka’ women take the lead

Penduka, which means ‘wake up’, operates a nonprofit women’s artisans project at Goreangab Dam, 8km northwest of the city Centre. The project, which started in 2002, currently employs over 200 women.
Penduka “Wake Up” Trust was founded by Christine Roos and exists to inspire and train women to move forward. They further seek to promote and support Namibian women with employment in rural and underdeveloped areas throughout Namibia.
In order to fulfill the aims and purposes of the Trust, Penduka creates various artisan products and provides lodging, restaurant, and conference facilities to individuals and business communities in Namibia as well as international tourists. Currently employing 40 women in Katutura, 79 in Otjiwarongo, 29 women ply their trade at head office in Windhoek. The women of Penduka create, on site, products using batik, embroidery, sewing, pottery and beads/jewellery mostly made from recycled glass. Penduka Trust General Manager, Kauna Simon, said the idea was to establish a self-supporting organisation, with a wide product base, based on realistic and practical business principles, run by the women themselves to operate throughout Namibia.“We also have an operating vegetable garden,’’ Simon said. There is also a shop on site selling products to tour groups and other visitors as well as to international outlets in the Netherlands, Germany and South Korea.“The international market is receiving our focus now and we plan to expand our penetration into that target market,” Simon said. The project also takes in interns from various local institutions. Males are only employed as drivers or security guards. There are about six deaf women.
Penduka women make beautiful products. They have just completed a project which comprised 100 tika bags for the Turkish Embassy to be used for the World Humanitarian Summit. They are also meeting the order of 1800 clay pots for a German client whilst finalising work for the Hope Village which will see them producing 200 bags. In addition the women are trained to be able to run Penduka independently and thereby provide for themselves. The facility also offers a TB programme for the women to make sure that they women are educated.  Kaino Olivia Shampa has been working at Penduka the past 13 years. She regrets that women in Namibia suffer from a low social status, which makes it difficult for them to find jobs. As a result, the entire family lives in poverty. “This is a good project for us,” Shampa says.
The poverty vicious circle is often strengthened by a physical handicap or diseases like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Penduka tries to break this negative circle by providing these women with work to help them support their families. Amongst the challenges for the institution, they rank the ownership of the land on which they work as a key priority. They offer guests a unique place to enjoy their holiday with a beautiful view of a lake to boot. Accommodation sites at Penduka are called rondavels. Penduka offers nine rondavels, which can accommodate two people each and all the rondavels come with a spectacular view of the lake and an en-suite bathroom. There are also five backpacker units and each unit has 5 beds, with a central bathroom.

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