Since 1987 when the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) commenced operations in Enugu State, the Directorate has touched many lives in the state and throughout the South East region.
This trend has continued as shown by NDE Enugu State Office Coordinator, Mrs. Ifeoma Ezepue, who inspected various project centers in the state.
Some of the beneficiaries told the Nigerian Tribune how NDE poverty alleviation programs are changing their lives for the better.
One of the beneficiaries, Abraham Nworie, now a certified horticulturist, was trained by the NDE a few years ago after graduating from high school and faced the harsh reality of unemployment.
“I was not doing anything before being trained by NDE. I have also been helped with many things. Today I have two people that I have employed. I pay them monthly. There are also two others boys I train,” Nworie said.
Now an employer of labour, Nworie asks for more help to be able to develop his trade and be able to hire more people.
For Mrs. Ogechukwu Eze, a widow, thanks to the help of NDE, now has a flower garden from which she feeds her family and educates her children in school.
“I make money with this business. Although the difficult economic situation affects us, we are still able to make ends meet,” she said.
Mrs. Izuchukwu Modesta owns a poultry farm where she currently raises over 3,500 birds. She also makes soap which she sells in New Market, Enugu.
Her success story began seven years ago when she took out a NDE 100,000 loan to start her poultry business. Now she has three workers whom she pays 15,000 naira each to help her manage her birds.
“When I heard that NDE was lending people money to help those who were doing nothing, I went there and they backed me with 100,000 naira.
“I can also make soaps and disinfectants. I learned all these things from NDE. There was a time when they came to teach us how to make soap and disinfectants. I started small but this one is getting bigger too.
However, she still needs more help from NDEs and other public-minded people so that she can grow her business.
For her part, Ms. Ego Nwanta enrolled a few years ago in a restoration and decoration program at the NDE. Today, she has more than 60 trainees and five employees under her command.
Nwanta said her life has been totally transformed by the skills she was able to learn under NDE. But she wants the government to help her find more comfortable accommodation so she can train more people.
In 2019, Blessing Nnamani and 19 other people formed a cooperative and were trained by NDE to start a piggery. They also received a loan of N400,000 as seed capital.
Today, Nnamani and his colleagues are smiling at the bank as the business has turned out to be a gold mine and have finished repaying the loan they took out with NDE.
Another co-op member, Ms Felicia Ude, said some people who laughed at them when they were about to start the piggery business have now joined the business after seeing its impact in her life .
For his part, Jude Okenwa who owns a poultry farm owes everything to NDE. In 2004, after graduating from college, Okenwa enrolled in NDE’s Start Your Own Business (SYOB) program.
Thanks to the program, he was able to acquire the necessary skills for raising poultry. “I signed up and was tied to a particular farm for six months with few incentives paid to cover my transportation and food. All of this experience and knowledge has brought us this far,” he said. he declares.
When he completed the program, the NDE provided him with a subsidized loan of 250,000 naira at a minimum interest rate of 9%. He received a certificate of honor after repaying the loan before the 24-month deadline.
“Economically, my family was fed with food nutrients. I also gave work to local villagers. I encourage everyone to take up farming.
“I can say without hesitation that NDE lifted me out of poverty. At that time, I came out of nowhere and NDE came to my rescue. I must pay homage to them.
Speaking on the impact of NDE programs, Ms. Ifeoma Ezepue, said that the Directorate is doing its best to create wealth for the people and reduce poverty in the country.
“Our CEO really cares about helping young people across the country. Paid employment is no longer the way to go. We hire young people to teach them skills and also teach them how to start their own business.
“We give them soft loans or introduce them to other lending offices or established businesses to monitor those businesses to make them work better. In these programs, the NDE tries to touch the heart of the nation,” she said.
Ezepue said that out of the current group of trainees under the NDE in Enugu State, 42 beneficiaries were resettled in July while seven participants received N500,000 each. She also said that more than 500 participants received various sums ranging from N50,000 to N100,000 between March and June this year.