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Local sanitaryware brand, Cobra, has developed a programme to equip young women with useful plumbing skills that will make them more employable.

The Teen Challenge has helped women from many different backgrounds since 1998 to change their lives.

Isgaan Hugo, government specialist at LIXIL Africa, which includes Cobra as part of its portfolio chats to Sara-Jayne King about their plumbing skills programme.

The programme was decided specifically for the Department of Water and Sanitation. Hugo says it began in Johannesburg and has now been slightly tweaked and used in a number of community projects in the Western Cape.

He was introduced to Teen Challenge and it was a perfect fit with 15 young women in need of support and guidance.

We thought the programme would assist them well. Once they are done with the programme and go back into the community, they are at least able to get a job as a plumber's hand.

Isgaan Hugo, Government specialist - LIXIL Africa

Teen Challenge is based in Eerste River and has collaborated with LIXIL Africa to offer this plumbing course to the young women.

These women come from backgrounds of drug abuse, gangsterism, and other negative things and what we are trying to do at LIXIL Africa, is we are trying to plant seeds of hope for these ladies and give them the encouragement to move past their stumbling blocks.

Isgaan Hugo, Government specialist - LIXIL Africa

He says plumbing is something they can offer, despite it being a male-dominated industry.

We just find that if we are training up ladies to do plumbing we're just giving them an extra opportunity.

Isgaan Hugo, Government specialist - LIXIL Africa

The Teen Challenge organisation has numerous aspects including a men’s centre and a halfway house, and operates in 33 countries throughout Africa.

Students stay in the training centre situated on a farm in Eerste River for six months.

We don't just teach them plumbing skills. We also train them on how to start a small business.

Isgaan Hugo, Government specialist - LIXIL Africa

He says Cobra sees it as its responsibility to do something to assist South Africans from difficult circumstances to have better opportunities.

Listen to the interview below:

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Young Cape Town women from challenging backgrounds learn to become plumbers

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