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11.06.2004 Regional News

NGO trains 40 street girls in bakery

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Tamale, June 11, GNA - Forty street girls on Thursday graduated after six months of training in confectionery and baking at the Nyanshegu Training Centre in Tamale.

The Timari-Tama Rural Women, a local NGO, organised the training programme under the "Street Children's Project" of the Ministry of Manpower Development and Employment.

Under the programme, the government, with the support of the World Bank, aims at withdrawing all children from the streets in the cities and other urban areas and training them to acquire skills that would make them employable or self-employed.

The girls who were brought to Tamale from the streets of Accra and Kumasi were also taken through lessons in moral and religious education, personal hygiene, teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

The NGO granted each of the girls 300,000 cedis loans as seed money to start their own businesses while also providing them with ovens, sheds and other baking items.

Hajia Amina Adam, Executive Director of Timari-Tama, urged the trainees to be enterprising in their new trade and respect their customers to win their confidence.

She advised them to get actively involved in development activities in their areas and also to create awareness about the dangers of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases in their communities.

Hajia Amina advised the girls to lead exemplary lives that would encourage their friends to emulate them and thereby discourage other girls from migrating to the cities in search of non-existent jobs.

She appealed to parents not to force their daughters into early marriage as this could not only adversely affect their health, but also prevent them from unearthing their talents for their personal development.

Alhaji Abubakari Inusah, Tamale Metropolitan Focal Person on Street Children said the training programme was a pilot one that would be documented for study to see its areas of success and failures and how it could be improved upon as it progressed.

He urged NGOs implementing the programme to monitor the activities of their trainees closely to find out whether they were practicing the trade for which they had been trained or that they had diverted the tools and resources provided them into other activities.

He announced that the programme would now shift focus to the training of hard-core street children in various employable skills.