Two non-governmental organizations, Values for Life (VFL), and Centre for Poverty Alleviation (CPA), have joined forces to bring special vocational skills training to school children within the Greater Accra Region catchment areas.
The two NGOs, founded by Deputy Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Dzifa Abla Gomashie-Ahiaglo (VFL), and fast-rising human right lawyer, Francis Xavier-Sosu (CPA), this year alone trained almost one thousand six hundred children from selected schools in the region.
The programme, is targeted at poor and deprived pupils. The two personalities, who have live within the Madina Municipality, have been helping to sustain the interest of pupils in education.
Some of the schools that benefited from the free training were, Nkwantanang 1&2, WASS Experimental Primary, Danfa Methodist Basic School, Teiman St. James Anglican Primary and Pantang Presby Basic School.
Aside Values for Life joining forces with Centre for Poverty Alleviation this year, it is already liaison with the Community Youth Cultural Centre (CYCC), at Maamobi-Nima in Accra for the same purpose. For the first time, the programme traveled outside of Accra to Ho in the Volta Region, the deputy minister revealed.
The CYCC programme, named Youth Creative Arts Vacation Camp (YCAVC) was revived five years by Values for Life after it collapsed years back, because of financial challenges.
The three-week intensive training, helped pupils learn about basket weaving, beads designing, drama, poetry recital, drumming, dancing, batik-tie-dye, sports, personal hygiene and grooming.
On the part of lawyer Sosu, the young human right activist, has since 2011, being organizing English Language, Science and Maths classes for various schools within the Madina municipality during long vacation.
The annual programme was boosted this year, when he collaborated with Mrs. Gomashie-Ahiaglo’s NGO to include vocational skills training, aside the aforementioned subjects studied.
At the closing ceremony for the three week creative arts vacation camp at Madina, a Deputy Minister for Education, Samuel Okudjato Ablakwa, commended Mrs. Gomashie-Ahiaglo, and lawyer Xavier-Sosu, for the initiative.
Mr. Okudjato-Ablakwa, who earlier inspected some of the wares of the children announced that, after discussions with the sector Minister, Prof. Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman, plans were underway to expand it for children across the country to benefit from the novelty to harness different talents.
“Next year, we are going to replicate it across the country”, he said amidst thunderous applauds from the gathering. According to the deputy minister, education, which plays very important role in the life of the individual, is not only about what transpires in the classroom, but field work as well.
“Education is not only what transpires in the classroom, it goes beyond classroom work but field work, exposing them to new skills, empowering them to take up new challenges”.
On her part, the deputy minister said, the initiative forms part of the ministry’s agenda to train these children in the creative arts, so that even at a very young age, they can learn some vocational skills, aside what they learn in the classroom to compliment their monthly income when they grow.
She was certain that, with this programme being accepted and the children developing the interest to get involved, the nation, “can raise well rounded children for the future. It is skill they can rely on for a living. We are empowering them to find a vocation, grooming another generation of young people” she noted
The ministry of tourism culture and creative arts she said, “is mandated to mainstream culture and creative arts and so this is what we are doing.
We think that, not everybody will be a doctor, lawyer, journalist for that matter, there are people whose calling is into music, is into drumming, is into craft, is into singing and so, if we create the platform for young people at a very early age, chances are that, by the time they become professionals, they will be very well vexed in the craft”, she explained.
She praised lawyer Sosu for the initiative adding, “We are told as Ghanaians that it takes an individual to bring a child into the world, but it takes the community together to raise this child to be responsible and positive child of the country.
If we don’t unite to raise the children that are in this country, who is going to do that for us,” the deputy minister who traces her childhood days from the community said.
In a brief remark, Mr. Xavier-Sosu, who has declared his intention to contest the primaries of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Madina Constituency as parliamentary candidate, said it was always important to have the “best interest of children at heart, reason he embarked on the vacation classes about five years ago”.
He was hopeful that, the programme would enhance the future of the children. He donated various materials and equipment to schools which participated in the programme to improve sanitary condition.
Some of the items included, veronica baskets, brooms, rubbish collectors, as well as prizes and certificates from Values for Live for both pupils and trainers, some of who were from the ministry.