How do I find the right job opportunities? How do I present myself with convincing power? What type of work will help me become self-reliant? How do I start or improve my business? These questions are being addressed by the new Self-Reliance Centres established throughout the world by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In Southeast Africa, centres have opened in Johannesburg and Durban South Africa, as well as Zimbabwe, Kenya, Madagascar, and two in D.R. Congo. This worldwide program is offered free of charge.
The centres assist patrons as they work through programs that will allow them to identify their strengths and set them on a path of self-reliance. After an initial assessment and a foundation workshop, focusing on strengthening all aspects of their lives, students then have the opportunity to choose a course they want to pursue. This course includes: My Job Search, Starting and Growing My Business, and Education for Better Work. A facilitator leads a dynamic group of 8-14 students who work together through the material. Smaller groups are formed to encourage each other to make personal contact during the week, promote good work habits and assist each other with homework assignments. Leaders of local LDS congregations (Bishops) are also involved to mentor and encourage.
Over 100 people attended the Open House of the Durban Self-Reliance Centre on 15 November 2014. Guests were invited to take guided tours of the new facility and attend 10 minute sessions, which included videos and success stories that explained the programs.
Elder Snell, a senior missionary working in the Self-Reliance Centre in Durban, South Africa said, “The Church has already has an LDS employment centre and a Perpetual Education Fund program, but this new program will weld them together. The focus is getting spiritually and temporally self-reliant. It will require students to make commitments, do their homework, and show up on time for class. If they do what they are asked, they will be successful.”
Student Sipho Zuma commented that he is looking forward to participating in the program. He said, “It is important to understand that Heavenly Father wants you to be able to take care of yourself and your family, and to help the people around you as well. It’s not only about education, but about being self-reliant. That is what is being taught here—to be more like the Saviour, to be your brother’s keeper. Once you do that, you become closer to your Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.”
Other students responded to the new course by saying, “It doesn’t matter how old you are, you can still achieve your goals.” “You can learn to solve your own problems.” “I can figure out what I want to do.” “We must be diligent.” “We can use the Spirit to help us.”
Bishop Mkhize, Director of the centre said, “The centre is a wonderful place of refuge for those who are seeking employment, especially for returned missionaries and those who want to better themselves. People can come in anytime and seek help here. It is also beneficial for Church leaders to see what the centre can offer and then use available resources to help their members.”
The Self-Reliance Centres will be open Monday-Friday, between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. Volunteers are available to assist members with the computers to do job searches and to aid in filling out resumes. No one is guaranteed a job upon completion of the course, but they will have improved skills to qualify for a job.
The First Presidency of the Church stated in a letter to members that this program “has been prepared to help members of the Church learn and put into practice principles of faith, education, hard work, and trust in the Lord. Accepting and living these principles will better enable you to receive the temporal blessings promised by the Lord.”