About 30 adolescent girls have been taking through a fashion training sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in partnership with the Prada Group and International Needs.
The ladies chosen from Volta, Central, Northern and Greater Accra Regions subsequently underwent a six month intensive industrial attachment.
This forms part of the UNFPA’s objective of improving the lives of adolescent girls and mothers.
The ladies prior to the training were Kayayae, school dropouts, single parents and some from vulnerable homes.
The project “Fashion Expressions, The Stories She Wears” is a combination of leadership of Prada Group in the fashion industry with the expertise of UNFPA in sexual and reproductive health rights, to end gender based violence and promotes gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.
At a colourful graduation graced by representatives from the UNFPA, UNICEF, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MGCSoP), friends and relatives of trainees and a section of the public presented an opportunity for trainees to cat walk and showcase their craft in different styles after the six months intensive attachment.
Speaking at the event United Nations Resident Coordinator, Mr. Charles Abani said the training seeks to empower young women especially vulnerable people to provide them with skills and opportunities in the fashion industry and also designed to showcase fashion r and create an impactful platform for advancing gender equality and social economic empowerment.
He said the UNFPA does this to also advocate for reproductive health and rights to information to enable youth make informed choices.
He emphasized that the project was not necessarily to showcase fashion but a great opportunity to unlock potentials of the youths economically and that they will no longer be described as marginalized persons in society.
“Let this event serve to inspire us that when we invest in empowering the most vulnerable we don’t just change their individual lives, we transform communities and in tend the world.”
He mentioned that by the end of 2023 the Ghanaian fashion ecommerce market value is projected to reach 132million dollars representing 19.2% of the total ecommerce market and expected to increase by 14.4% by 2027 with a projected market of 326.3million dollars hence finds it appropriate for young youths to tap into the huge investments by partnering the private sector in the fashion industry.
“It is therefore exciting that the UN is partnering the private sector to take advantage of this growing space for our young people. They are today the people that we need to build for the future," he said.
Country Director of the UNFPA Dr. Wilfred Ochan, on his part said, the UNFPA sought to leverage it shared passion for fashion and promoting gender equality and empowerment of women and girls as a drive to achieve its objective and that have seen the vision come to life through the project.
He said the project speaks to fashion's power as a platform for change.
“…we reiterate our commitment: No one should be left behind. Let this event be the beacon that shines light on the value of educating and empowering vulnerable young women, enabling them to be the architects of their destinies and the change-makers of tomorrow.”
Some of the beneficiaries in an interview expressed gratitude to the organizers, saying that the training had been a life changing project.
“UNFPA has changed my life and made my dreams come through. Although I had a dream of becoming a fashion designer I didn’t know how to achieve that but today UNFPA and its partners have made this a reality,” a beneficiary expressed.
Another beneficiary said “I can say that I was hopeless but the UNFPA came into my life and gave me hope. The knowledge gained have created a platform for me to live a better life and will help me extend same to my fellow colleagues."