This article was originally published by Graphic Online.
An American Islamic charity organisation, Zakat Foundation, has set up 10 young women – in entrepreneurial business – after sponsoring them to acquire skills in dressmaking.
The 10 women, five each from the Northern and Ashanti regions, have received sewing machines and accessories to enable them to start their new trade to empower them economically.
They graduated after two years of apprenticeship under the Voluntary Training Center programme of Zakat Foundation, which offers various opportunities to vulnerable, deprived and poor people in society.
They were the latest beneficiaries of a project that started in 2006, with two centers operating concurrently in Bole and Kumasi. Twenty-two of the earlier beneficiaries are said to be in business already.
At the third Voluntary Training Center (VTC) graduation ceremony at Bole in the Northern Region, Mr Habib Abubakar, the Country Programme Manager of Zakat Foundation, said the skills acquired from the training, and the sewing machines, should provide an outlet for income earning to enable the women begin life afresh.
He said the foundation remained committed to assisting deprived societies and poor people to complement efforts towards alleviating poverty, particularly among the developing countries.
He said for the VTC venture to be sustainable, it had become necessary for Zakat Foundation to partner the government to set up more VTCs in deprived communities “to absorb more women and young girls who could not further their education due to poverty”.
“This is because women lack access to financial capital and have limited opportunities to gain education, knowledge and skills that can lead to economic development,” he added.
He appealed to civil society organisations, community leaders, the Bole District Assembly and other stakeholders in the poverty alleviation effort, to support the VTC programme to improve the lives of young women who could not continue with their education due to poverty.
The District Chief Executive for Bole, Hon. James Gaaga, advised the beneficiaries to hold on to their newly acquired skills, and to guard the sewing machines as worthy investments that would unlock their lives into financial self-sufficiency.
He commended Zakat Foundation for its noticeable presence in Bole, and said the foundation had been a useful partner in the developmental efforts of the district.
A representative of Bolewura Awuladese Pontonprong II, the Paramount Chief of Bole, recounted the development projects executed by Zakat Foundation in Bole, and said boreholes and other water projects, mosques, health, orphan care, education and skill training were evidence of the foundation’s commitment to assisting the people of Bole.
“It is our prayer that they would not stop with this graduation ceremony, but would continue to help our people in the areas they have supported over the period,” he said.
The Country Director of Zakat Foundation, Alhaji Salia Alhassan, said it was important that young women from poor background took advantage of such effort to become gainfully employed rather than indulging in worthless lifestyles.
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