GHANA: New Empower Women of Ghana program is providing counseling and skills training to help young women achieve independence through employment
(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco Child Protection Center in Ashaiman, Ghana, has started a new program called Empower Women of Ghana. Launched in February, the program is for young women between the ages of 18 and 23 and was started with the help of the Don Bosco Mission in Turin, Italy.
The program is designed to assist young women who face adversity and are vulnerable to migration and human trafficking. Almost all are living in conditions of poverty, have been deprived of a basic education and have little or no support to learn how to become independent young women in society. Program participants have been rescued from various vulnerable situations all over Ghana.
Once in the program, the young women are able to take part in group and individual therapy and behavior management – all focused on empowering them to take back control of their lives and improve their self-esteem. There are also workshops that address personal hygiene, self-love, the importance of relationships and etiquette in a professional setting.
Upon completion of the first stage of the program, participating women advance to vocational training which is designed to help them learn a skill that will lead to stable employment. Skills training is provided in areas such as hairdressing, catering, beads-making and fashion design.
“The new Empower Women of Ghana program is ensuring young women have the support and nurturing they need along with the skills training to pursue self-employment,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “There are many barriers to education for young women and girls, but Salesian programs around the globe work to eliminate those barriers and provide education and skills training to all.”
In addition to this program, the Salesian Child Protection Center offers shelter, counseling and education to help children and older youth make the transition out of trafficking and into long-term recovery. Often arriving at the center injured, with low self-esteem and little hope for the future, many become comfortable and settled into their new surroundings within a few weeks.
Salesian missionaries also operate a technical school in the region that offers courses in five professional fields including electrical, IT, electronic, solar energy and accounting. More than 700 students attend the school’s three-year courses with about half of the graduates enrolling in university afterwards. Established 20 years ago, the school is now considered the best technical school in the metropolitan area of Accra.
The first Salesian missionaries in Ghana arrived in 1992 in the city of Sunyani and soon became known for their educational work, especially for at-risk children and victims of trafficking. Children face extensive hardships ranging from being exploited in child labor to being sold by their relatives, often to pay off a debt. In the Lake Volta region, it is estimated that there are approximately 21,000 children and teen laborers who have been prevented from attending school.
While Ghana’s economy continues to improve, nearly 45 percent of the population lives on less than $1 a day, according to UNICEF. Ghana ranks 139 out of 188 countries on the United Nations Development Program’s 2015 Human Development Index. Rural poverty remains widespread in the dry savannah region that covers roughly two thirds of Ghana’s northern territory. Small-scale farms suffer from a lack of infrastructure and equipment, both of which are needed to shift from subsistence farming to more modern commercial farming which would yield greater incomes and a chance to escape poverty.
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UNICEF – Ghana