Mr Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Minister for Tourism and Diasporan Relations, yesterday advised Ghanaian youth to acquire employable skills that would make them self-reliant. This he said was the only way to make the individual self-dependant thus averting poverty in the society.
Mr Obetsebi Lamptey said this when he launched an exhibition to celebrate the life and works of Rev. Leon Howard Sullivan, Founder of the Opportunities Industrialisation Centres International (OICI).
The occasion formed part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Dubois Centre and a response to a call by Dr Kwame Nkrumah to African youths to develop themselves. He said Rev Sullivan was a great man who influenced the lives of many people in Ghana and the world, adding that he did not only "fish for people, but also taught people how to fish."
Mr Obetsebi Lamptey said the vision of Rev. Sullivan to improve the lots of many individuals in deprived communities based on the principle of "self-help" had really gone down well with lots of great men and women produced from the centres.
Ms Sharon Cromer, Director of Missions, USAID, said Rev Sullivan was a human rights activist who used his principles of economic strength and clout of corporations to dismantle and end apartheid in South Africa.
She said the vision of this great man resulted in the establishment of the OICI an organisation, which was one of the most effective and extensive, self-help training programmes in the world.
"OICI helps school dropouts and masses of the unemployed persons in cities and towns across America as well as in developing nations, especially Africa to become self dependent by providing skill training leading to job creation and brighter lives."
Ms Cromer said the creation of International Foundation for Education and Self Help was to deal with the inadequacies in education, poverty, disease and child mortality, which had held developing countries from advancing.
"OICI international has been working in Ghana since 1970 to provide vocational skills training to the disadvantaged and equip them with the necessary skills for gainful employment," she added.
She said OICI had contributed immensely to Government's poverty reduction efforts especially in the Northern Region adding, "eight years ago, OICI started work under USAID's food security programme and has since expanded to maternal child health".
Mrs Carla Denizard, Country Representative of OICI, noted that as an organisation committed to giving hope to the disadvantaged in society, it would continue to carry out the dreams of Rev Sullivan. "Our goal is to reach out to more poor and disadvantaged populations through creative and innovative programming and fundraising."
Mrs Denizard urged Ghanaians to join hands in the spirit of unity and giving to achieve more to bring hope to the needy in the society.