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‘Unemployment is root cause of drug abuse’

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By Emmanuel Chirwa:

LACK EXPERIENCE—Youths

The government has attributed increased cases of drug abuse to high level of unemployment.

Ministry of Home Affairs and Internal Security Chief Director, Hudson Mankhwala, said this during the 2018/19 JTI Leaf Company Employment Fair held at Ufulu Gardens in Lilongwe on Saturday.

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“Because the youth are vulnerable, they engage in drug abuse while girls [engage] in sexual exploitation which they call survival sex and [endure] all forms of abuse. They do this because they do not have a job and they want to survive through illegal or other means. This causes problems such as suicides, road accidents, rape, mental disorders and the spread of HIV and Aids. These retard social development,” he said.

Mankhwala said, according to International Labour Organisation statistics, about 75 million youths across the globe are unemployed.

He, therefore, lauded JTI Leaf Company for holding the fair, saying it would give fresh graduates experience.

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“You know pretty well that when our youths seek employment opportunities, companies and potential employers demand that they [applicants] should have three, four, five or even 10 years of experience. So, where will these youths get the experience?

“What JTI is doing is to give a chance to these youths to gain experience in various fields and, after that, they are free to join other companies,” Mankhwala said.

JTI Leaf Company Corporate Affairs and Communications Director, Limbani Kakhome, said the internship programme is an on-going activity geared to produce youngsters who can deliver the goods at the workplace.

“We take a group of talented young Malawians and train them in business for a year and, when they have fared well, incorporate them in our team. Again, we give them enough skills to perform well wherever they go. Since we rolled out the programme, we have produced youths who have excelled greatly in agronomy, corporate affairs, among other areas,” Kakhome said.

Kakhome said JTI initially launched the programme by offering scholarships to students of Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, formerly Bunda College. Later, the company started offering graduate internships.

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