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Ethiopia faces a significant economic challenge with a high unemployment rate among its youth. This issue is not just a personal struggle for those affected but a national economic concern. Muyaspace, an innovative Ed-tech company aims to address this challenge by empowering the youth through handcrafting skills like crochet, painting, pottery, basket weaving, macrame, and many more. Their mission is to provide sustainable job opportunities and foster a culture of creativity and economic empowerment.

Handcrafting is not only an art form but also a means of expression, cultural preservation, and economic opportunity. Muyaspace’s programs are designed to equip young people with valuable skills that can open doors to various career paths. By offering both online and in-person classes, they make their programs accessible to a wider audience.

Founded by Hiwot Zelalem, Dawit Gadisa, and Bruktawit Getachew in 2022, Muyaspace utilizes the Google Meet platform to host its online handcrafting courses, ensuring that anyone with internet access can participate. Additionally, in-person classes provide hands-on experience, vital for mastering these skills. Muyaspace is also developing an online learning platform where individuals can access handcrafting courses at any time and according to their own schedule, making learning even more flexible and convenient.

Akofada (DFS Ethiopia)

As young adults master these marketable talents, they can become artisans and entrepreneurs, contributing to local economies and reducing unemployment. Moreover, these programs encourage children to explore their creative instincts, enhancing cognitive development and problem-solving abilities.

“Addressing youth unemployment requires innovative solutions that go beyond traditional education and job training programs. It requires a focus on skills that are both culturally relevant and economically viable. Handcrafting, with its deep roots in Ethiopian culture and its potential for economic impact, represents such a solution. By teaching handcrafting skills, Muyaspace is not only preserving an important aspect of Ethiopian heritage but also creating new pathways for economic empowerment,” said Hiwot Zelalem, CEO at Muyaspace.

Handcrafting is a powerful tool for empowerment. It enables individuals to create something tangible and valuable with their own hands, fostering a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. For children, engaging in handcrafting activities helps to develop creativity, improve concentration, and enhance skills. It provides an alternative to the passive consumption of digital content and encourages active, hands-on learning.

Muyaspace’s impact extends beyond individual students. By building a community of over 10,000 followers across social media platforms, they have created a network of support and inspiration. This community serves as a platform for sharing ideas, showcasing achievements, and fostering a sense of belonging. It also amplifies the reach of Muyaspace’s programs, attracting new participants and supporters.

The economic impact of handcrafting extends beyond individual employment. As more young people acquire these skills, the potential for small business growth increases. Artisans and craftsmen contribute to local economies by selling their products in domestic and international markets. This not only provides income for individuals but also stimulates economic activity in communities. The sale of handmade goods supports local suppliers, creates jobs, and generates revenue.

Moreover, the preservation and promotion of traditional crafts can boost tourism. Visitors to Ethiopia are often drawn to the country’s rich cultural heritage, including its unique handmade goods. By promoting handcrafting, Muyaspace helps to attract tourists, further stimulating economic growth.

Muyaspace’s journey has been supported by various incubations and organizations, which have been instrumental in its growth and success. Muyaspace received business training, mentorship, and a grant from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a program powered by a partnership between the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Gebeya Inc. This support provided the foundational knowledge and resources needed to build and launch their programs.

Additionally, Muyaspace is part of the Mesirat Ethiopia (መስራት) program, organized by the MasterCard Foundation in collaboration with Gebeya Inc. The program aims to create one million jobs in Ethiopia in the next five years, aligning perfectly with Muyaspace’s mission of empowering youth through skill development.

Moreover, Muyaspace is now part of the MasterCard Foundation EdTech Fellowship Program, organized by Reach For Change in collaboration with the MasterCard Foundation. This fellowship provides further support and resources, enabling Muyaspace to expand its reach and enhance its educational offerings. These partnerships and programs are critical to Muyaspace’s ability to innovate and grow, providing the support needed to continue their impactful work.

Muyaspace’s vision extends beyond immediate economic impact. By promoting handcrafting, they aim to foster a culture of creativity and innovation. They envision a future where young people are empowered to explore their passions, develop their talents, and contribute to their communities.

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