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24.04.2004 Regional News

Street children get entrepreneurship training.

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Takoradi, April 24, GNA- Two thousand five hundred street children in four pilot districts in Sekondi-Takoradi, Tamale, Kumasi and Accra are under going training that would reintegrate them into the mainstream Ghanaian society at a cost of 2.5 million US dollars.

The Government and the World Bank are funding the street children project under the Bank's learning and innovative loan facility through the Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment.

Mrs Mary Dei-Awuku, Head of the street children project of the Ministry said this at the graduation ceremony of 40 street children from the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis at Takoradi on Friday.

The GHACOE Women's ministry community-based poverty reduction programme, took the children, 23 girls and 17 boys through three months training in batik, tie and dye, bakery hand soap making.

The children who were taught record keeping, management skills and how to set up one's own business, were also provided with equipment and working tools and materials including cash and certificates. GHACOE Women's Ministry would supervise their operations for six months before they are left to work on their own.

Mrs Dei-Awuku thanked GHACOE Women's Ministry, the Shama Ahanta East Metropolitan Assembly and other stakeholders through whose efforts the training became possible.

She observed that most street children came from broken homes with acute family conflicts, and said the project would offer support to the selected district assemblies, traditional authorities and community leaders to ensure harmony at all levels in the communities.

Mrs Dei-Awuku said the project would embark on advocacy and information dissemination to heighten public awareness of the causes and effects of street children on society and development. Mrs Gladys Asmah, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs who was the special guest of honour, reminded parents, especially men of their responsibilities towards the upbringing of their children who she said are gifts from God.

"Every child has special talents that can be unearthed for the benefit of the family and society as a whole", she said, adding that, her ministry is prepared to assist women and children who genuinely needed help.

She assured the people of the Government's determination to reduce poverty and urged them to take advantage of a number of measures and facilities put in place to promote private sector growth. Reverend Charlotte Opoku-Addo, GHACOE national director, said the ministry, which has more than 200 branches nationwide, would continue to play vital roles in the development of women and children. She said GHACOE had trained, rehabilitated and restored hope in a number of "unfortunate people", including street children and sex workers.

It has stepped up its HIV/AIDS awareness education programme among sex workers with funds from the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) to check the spread of the pandemic.

Madam Margaret Rose Tetteh, acting Western Regional Coordinator of GHACOE said the ministry is not only determined to help bring street children into the mainstream of society, but also provide them with the necessary spiritual and moral needs. GNA

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