Gladson Banda is a graduate in carpentry and joinery and completed his two-year course in June 2008. Gladson lives in the community surrounding the SOS Training Centre Lilongwe. He now runs his own carpentry shop, specializing in carpentry as well as general household maintenance. His business is busy so he is also training an assistant to enable him to keep up with the demands of his customers.
Gladson has won the trust of many customers, as well as their admiration for the neat work which he carries out. As well as his usual work in domestic settings, Gladson also works for the SOS Medical Centre where he makes and maintains special chairs for the children's rehabilitation and physiotherapy program.
Gladson working at SOS Medical Centre Lilongwe (Photo: Kenneth Nkhonjera)
SOS Medical Centre head Arthur Mallungo is happy to have Gladson's help. "Gladson has saved us from enormous pressure and cost. We used to have problems maintaining our rehabilitation chairs and our teaching aids for the rehabilitation program. We had to go to Blantyre to have our equipment maintained, but this is not necessary now that Gladson helps us." This appreciation can not be underestimated as every one could see that the rehabilitation program has well-maintained teaching aids for their clients.
Gladson is very proud of the skills which he obtained at the vocational training centre and says, "My father is very proud of my profession, right now am paying school fees for my two brothers and I have installed electricity to my father's house and I have provided them with a television set". This is no mean achievement for a youth like Gladson who is only 22 years of age.
Gladson working on a wheelchair (Photo: Kenneth Nkhonjera)
Perseverance has definitely paid off for Gladson - before securing his place at SOS Training Centre Lilongwe, he had been trying to enrol at various government technical institutes, but had been unsuccessful because the long waiting lists meant that there were often two-year waiting lists. He was happy to discover on contacting the SOS Training Centre that he would be able to start his course within a few months because of their continual enrolment plan, which means that a new cohort of students can start each term, rather than waiting for the next academic year.