Fifteen of the graduates who are beneficiaries of the Sinakho Women and Youth Development Programme say they are inspired to start their own businesses following completion of the course.The graduation ceremony took place at the Johnson Ngwevela Hall in Langa on Thursday.The graduation comes after they took part in a three-month course, in a skills transfer programme.The initiative, set up by House of Monatic, a leading SA fashion creative retail business, in partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Nedbank.The participants received training and mentoring on all aspects of garment manufacturing, including sales and distribution.One of the graduands, Fundiswa Mvumvu,35,said the training was an eye opener for her.“I thank Sinakho for such a great opportunity. I was encouraged by my son (Thembelihle Mvumvu, 14,) to attend the training. He graduated from last year. So now we are planning to start a family business. I was unemployed and struggling before I started the training, but now I see that my life will change since I have skill to empower myself. I am very happy,” Mvumvu said.Gugulethu resident Mxolisi Mngxali, 43, said he had learnt a lot during the process.“I used to sew by hand before I bought the machine and the passion for sewing grew. The training was not easy and it took me time to master it. I have already started a business making bags, dresses and trousers. I now want to make jackets,” Mngxali said.Sinakho’s programme director Zella Pahlana spoke highly of the programme and said it is contributing positively in the improvement of the lives of the residents.“Sinakho is doing great things here. Development is not about politics, but to look after the needy. We wanted to change people’s lives when we started. Some of our former students run their own businesses already,” Pahlana said.Last year, about 20 students graduated from the skills programme. It was also announced that the IDC has donated an amount of about R500 000 towards a sewing kit for the graduates, which includes a sewing machine and other garment production tools to help them establish their own small businesses. Nedbank provided funding for the 2016 project and also donated materials for use by the participants during their training course. Lindiwe Temba, the executive head of corporate social investment at Nedbank, said the support of the skills transfer programme formed part of an on-going commitment to care for communities.“Skills development programmes like this deliver far more than just training. They also encourage the participants to truly believe in themselves and their abilities and give them the confidence to build their lives and sustain their families. We focus hundred percent on supporting organisations and initiatives that empower South Africans to lift themselves out of their current hardships and establish themselves as self-sufficient contributors to the South African economy,” Temba said.Nedbank promised to continue its involvement with the programme and its support for the graduates, by selling some of the garments they produce through its corporate sales channel, Nedthreads.