Nina Venjakop started a skills development center nearly 30 years ago and has helped thousands of people better their lives and become entrepreneurs.
The Out of the Box project was started in Germiston in 1987 by Nina Venjakop in the hopes to provide skills to better the lives of unemployed and under-skilled men and woman. The goal is to create an employed South Africa.
Recently Nina was voted the Lead SA hero of December 2016. She wishes to teach people unique skills.
“To teach people skills, to improve lives, to make sure parents have a small business to run from home so they can be there for their children”
Out of the Box trains an average of about 300 people a year. Some of the skills courses are out of the box! Skills like lamp shade making, candle and soap making, sewing, screen printing and woodwork are staples to the center.
When there are more funds available the skills center also runs gardening and catering courses.
Each class taught at the center also comes with business and life skills training to afford each graduate the skills to create their own small business.
Nina spotted a gap in the market where artistic skill was present but no avenue to market the end results of artistic skill.
“We have a great craft base, art base and home industries base but no formalisation, no marketing, no distribution, no place where the products could be sold, to turn into food on the table”
Out of the Box has a dedicated showroom that exhibits the work of the artists, it provided a marketing and exporting service for the small business’s created at the skills center. There are many students that have since started small business’s and use the Out of the Box premises to run their business.
Artisan soaps and candles, children’s clothing, leather goods and many other types of products are being made at a high quality with care and love.
Nina believes in uplifting people, this is the most practical way. She has kept going all these years by focusing on the success.
“It’s a hand up, not a hand out”
“I was born trying to improve peoples lives”
“When there’s a success story it makes it worth every single bit of pain to get there”
The skills center receives funding from small private donations and companies CSI funding. With current funding the center is able to train 300 students annually but aims to increase that to 1200 students annually.
To do this more funding is needed. If you are able to help with donation, you can contact Nina here.