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04.12.2003 General News

Liberian Refugees In Ghana Receive US Grants

By Chronicle
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United States (US) Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates yesterday awarded $23, 261.65, to the National Catholic Secretariat (NCS), the official arm of the Ghana Catholic Bishop's conference in support of two projects that focus on Liberian refugee settlement in Ghana.

The funds will in addition address teenage pregnancy and neglected and abused unaccompanied minors.

The ceremony took place at the Buduburam Refugee Camp 35 kilometers west of the capital Accra under the watchful eyes of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), a major partner to the NCS and representatives of the Government of Ghana and the Ghana Refugee Board as well as refugees.

Funding for both projects was from the Department of State's Ambassador's Fund, Ambassador Yates said.

The NCS is the only organization in the world to be awarded two grants from this year's Ambassador's fund.

The first project, 'Adolescent Mothers' Care and Prevention', the Ambassador said will address teenage pregnancy in the Liberian refugee settlement camp and its social, economic and educational impact.

She explained that the project strives to equip young girls with skills that will allow them to become better parents as well as productive earners.

"The girls will be enrolled in childcare and home economics courses, as well as health education, literacy and skills training workshops," Ambassador Yates said.

The first project is estimated to cost $19,889.24. While the second project, 'Proposal for Funds for Unaccompanied Minors and other Children at risk' will cost $3,372.41.

This project seeks to assist those most vulnerable to neglect or abuse, identified through clinic health care workers and social outreach, through the creation of a child welfare fund.

Mr. Thomas Albrecht, UNHCR Representative to Ghana said the programmes outlined above are further examples of efforts to empower and promote the protection of refugees-in particular, refugee women and children.

Thomas said in spite of some of the apparent difficulties that beset the residents of the camp over many years as a result of a life in exile, the Buduburam Refugee Settlement should be celebrated as a place where the human spirit has triumphed over adversity.

The visit of the US Ambassador to the camp is her second in a year and makes her perhaps the only diploma with the most frequent visitors record.

During the Ambassadors first visit, she gave textbooks and other educational materials to the over 40 schools on the settlement.

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