What do you do after drinking a can of soda? Maybe you rinse out the can, flatten it out, and toss it in the recycling bin. Once that can is out of sight, you probably don’t think much about it.
But for students enrolled in the WAVS welding program, a can is more than just garbage. It’s something can be melted down and formed into a handmade tool.
Quality tools in Guinea-Bissau aren’t easy to come by. And the ones that are available are imported from other countries. This makes them extremely expensive to purchase – especially if you are just starting up a business. In order to address this problem, WAVS students are taught to create tools for themselves.
What happens, though, when a student needs something even more than a simple hammer? No matter how many aluminum cans, spare bike parts, or old car batteries there are lying around, building a welding machine out of scraps isn’t a realistic option.
That’s why WAVS started the New Entrepreneurs Program.
Through the New Entrepreneurs Program, WAVS graduates are able to purchase tools and equipment at subsidized prices. Because the bulk of the expenses are covered by generous donors, the students are able to afford to pay for these durable, high-quality tools.
Because students still have to cover some of the costs of the tools, they have a strong incentive to take care of the tools and guard them closely.
WAVS skills training programs are designed to do more than just equip students with skills. They also help provide the tools necessary to put those skills into practice. This allows us to do more than “teach a person to fish” — it also gives that person a fishing pole. Or in this case, a welding machine.