Boniface uses 'Dutch' skills in business
Boniface is a young Burundian man from Tilburg. His residence permit was not extended and he was forced to leave the Netherlands. He has lived, studied and worked in the Netherlands for 7 years, and has a degree in nursing at senior secondary vocational level (MBO 4 level). However, Boniface knows that he cannot make a living with this degree in his country.
In consultation with a COA staff member, he enrols for a training course in welding techniques at the foundation WereldWijd. He had come up with the idea to make fences and grilles for doors and windows in his city of Bujumbura. He had contacted his family in Burundi and they convinced him that there definitely exists a market for this. WereldWijd talks with Boniface and offers him an intensive training course in welding techniques for a period of 3 to 4 months. However, Boniface had never held welding tongs in his life. Not in the least to his own surprise, he turned out to be a natural. He swiftly goes through the teaching programme and is even issued the certificate level 1 of the Dutch Institute for Welding Technique several months later. A few weeks later he boards the plane back to Africa. Taking with him a box containing a generator, welding equipment, drills, angle grinders and a whole array of second-hand refurbished hand tools.
Two years later WereldWijd went to visit a number of returnees in Burundi. Naturally, we were very curious to learn how Boniface was doing. We meet up with along the side of a dusty and noisy road. He is busy welding a metal frame of a door together with his two (!) employees, in an African way with a self-assembled welder. Boniface takes us to his small house at the edge of Bujumbura; a magnificent view of the city, the mountains and the lake, however no running water or electricity. His company is doing well. He makes gates, grilles for doors and windows; exactly as he had in mind when he started the training course in welding techniques at WereldWijd. It strikes us that Boniface has become an entrepreneur with 'Dutch' skills: planning, coordinating, thinking ahead and investing.
Boniface has to invest a lot of his time in marketing his company, as there is much competition from welding shops, since there is a lot of building going on in the city. Boniface wants to distinguish himself with Dutch values: to keep to agreements, to deliver on time, to provide quality. He also has to invest time in this. He goes to visit people, offers quotes with a competitive price.
He makes beautiful work and is very proud of it, as he should be. 'This door is the most beautiful door that I have made, I am truly proud of it.' He shows us a house of which he has made the gates and the window / door grilles. This was a big order for him. He has done this for six houses already. WereldWijd is proud that it has contributed to a new future for this young man, who has proven that a good plan, a considerable amount of motivation and effort, as well as the proper support can in fact offer perspective on a new future after having returned to one's own country.
Source: Foundation WereldWijd