Angola’s educational system, along with most of its equipment and furniture, was largely decimated during the country’s lengthy civil war, which began in 1975. Since peace returned in 2002, Angola’s government has established targets to improve the quality of teaching, particularly in regards to youth illiteracy. The country’s re-emergence from its conflict has placed a pressing need on there to be a physical infrastructure in place to support its rejuvenated educational system. Using the large population of eucalyptus trees in Huambo, Habitec produces high-quality desks, chairs and other wooden fittings to meet the growing demand of Angola’s expanding school system. In addition to providing a growing population with access to basic services and educational opportunities, we also include local communities in the replantation of new trees, and 20% of our workforce are former soldiers with disabilities; a stark reminder of our country's war-torn past.
The social impact of Habitec is visible in the number of people in the local community who are employed for the first time, including reintegrating former soldiers, many of whom have disabilities. Habitec approaches local timber producers for supply and trains them in cutting and replanting, which also has a positive environmental impact, while the furniture produced is creating better schools and educational foundations for the next generation. Before the civil war, Huambo province was a region noted for its food, tobacco, clothing, leather, furniture and building material production. The conflict halted imports and exports and destroyed roughly 90 percent of the country’s industry. Businesses like Habitec have brought an end to this isolation and are actively contributing to the rebuilding of Angola.
OUR CHIVAS VENTURE EXPERIENCE
It was without doubt the most amazing experience of my business life. The Chivas Venture gave us a platform to show our business to the rest of the world. The media exposure resulted in new partnerships and networking opportunities, and since the competition finished we have definitely improved the quality of our product. It was a constant learning process, from the mentors and the judges, but most of all from the finalists; each one offered something different and unique that we could absorb. You create a very powerful network of people during the competition which will last forever.
We’ve been exploring new export opportunities, which will materialise later on in 2017. We are increasing our operational capacity and also providing short courses for personal development, inspiring individuals to work together in the local community. We will also invest in business research, improving and increasing our production in order to ensure our product can reach and impact as many people as possible. Our work in rural communities has also grown, furthering our commitment to communities by creating social and economic development where it is much needed.