Shoemakers work on the production line at Huajian Light Industry City in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June 12, 2019. (Xinhua/Wang Teng)
ADDIS ABABA, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Cheerful and active Wubet Anteneh, a 24 years old Ethiopian college graduate, is edging closer to turning her dream of managing a garment and shoe workshop into a reality.
While in Addis Ababa, Anteneh, a graduate of agricultural science from Markos University, was advised by a friend to apply for work at the Chinese Huajian shoe factory, which was recruiting potential young Ethiopians for training as the company embarked to add local talents to its manufacturing rank.
"Despite my childhood passion to engagements in the agricultural sector, the training gave me hope as I learned the potential advantages that are available for me if I successfully acquire skills in shoe making and garment sector," Anteneh said.
Anteneh, in addition to her quest for financial independence that forced her to join Huajian, now foresees a brighter future in the shoemaking and garment sector.
"Apart from the financial freedom that I got after joining this company, it also gave me a greater ambition than just a mere employment opportunity," Anteneh said.
"With the immense experience that I acquired here over the past two-year period, I am now planning to start my own garment workshop in the near future," Anteneh said.
Anteneh, together with three other fellow friends who are also working at the Huajian shoe factory, are now discussing how their venture garment and textile workshop would look like, as they aspire to capitalize on the experience they garnered while working at the factory side by side with their Chinese co-workers.
Meti Bekele, who is one of the three enthusiastic women partnering with Anteneh in the imminent venture garment and textile workshop, also describe the past two years of her engagement at the Huajian shoe factory as an "important practical learning experience."
"We have been saving portion of our monthly salary in a bid to finance our future venture business," Bekele told Xinhua, adding "it's now a matter of time for us to make our dream a reality."
"It is a dream that we have been preparing ourselves since we joined this factory," Bekele said.
"With God's help, our ambition is to benefit ourselves and eventually support our family and relatives from this business," she added.
As the East African country aspires to become the manufacturing hub of Africa, Huajian Group has been one of the leading players in powering the country's ambition into a reality.
The Chinese shoemaker, which produces for internationally acclaimed brands like GUESS, Calvin Klein, Nina and other branded items, is credited for its contribution in igniting Ethiopian dreams.
The company, which began building its light industrial park back in 2015 courtesy to the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), has been also vital in creating job opportunities to Ethiopia's burgeoning youth population.
Its two factories jointly provide direct jobs to more than 7,000 Ethiopians.