PRISCILLA MWILA, Lusaka
WHILE others waste their lives indulging in illicit activities due to lack of employment, Janet Kabalukila has decided to start her own empire using her gifted hands.
Overcoming the common sentiments made by most young people that there are no jobs and the ‘boma iyanganepo’ syndrome (Government should look into our plight), Janet decided to use her hands to support herself financially.
After studying journalism and public relations in 2015, Janet could not find employment so she decided to identify a skill which she is good at and use it to earn a living.
While some follow a traditional career path for the stability of a fixed salary and working hours, she decided to be part of the people changing the face of the nation by creating jobs through designing and printing t-shirts.
She said her passion for designing t-shirts started when she was a little girl.
Janet said her parents have been the best pillar of support to overcoming her challenges. They however encouraged her to go first to school and acquire a professional qualification.
She decided to study journalism because she is a people person, a good communicator who is also inquisitive and loves to share information.
However, despite acquiring her qualification, it was difficult to get a job.
Janet was able to support herself when she was in school with the little saving she made from the transport money her parents gave her.
“Things were much easier when I was in school because I was able to fend for myself using part of my transport money. You know how difficult it is for us ladies, we need a lot of things but for how long can we continue asking money from our parents,” he said.
She saw the designing and printing of t-shirts as the answer.
When asked why she decided to focus on designing instead of pushing to get a job like others do, Janet said she has not stopped looking for employment.
She wants to be one of the people who will make a difference by creating employment for others.
T-shirt printing and designing has become competitive on the market.
“People now want to wear designer t-shirts during Kitchen parties, Chilanga mulilo, birthdays and other celebrations,” she said.
Janet said people who are in her line of business make a good amount of money when there are events such as independence, women’s, and youth day celebrations.
She said she is able to make between K4, 000 and K5, 000 from orders during the celebrations. Her orders come from as far as Eastern, Copperbelt and Southern provinces.
The t-shirt printing business requires one to be innovative and creative enough to attract customers. Social media platforms have become an added advantage to this business.
Janet has been able to attract customers from other provinces using her Facebook account and various Whattsap groups.
When asked about the problems she faces, Janet said some unscrupulous people steal her work and claim ownership while others claim they order the shirts abroad.
She says erratic supply of power slows down her work because the sues an electric machine.
Transportation of her goods can be a challenge when she receivers orders from abroad. She has received orders on facebook from Germany and Kenya.
Janet bemoaned the lack of support of the entrepreneurship industry in Zambia especially from financial institutions that require collateral to access funds for capital.
She has however encouraged other young people to be courageous and believe in what their hands can do.
Janet said young people should learn to take risks and invest in viable businesses.
Government has put in place measures to support young people with a passion to contribute to the growth of the entrepreneurship industry. It cannot manage to create white collar jobs for every youth in Zambia.
It is time for youth to stop wasting their lives in the name of ‘boma iyanganepo’ .
PRISCILLA MWILA, Lusaka