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01.09.2004 Regional News

Twenty-eight street children graduate in skills training

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Sekondi, Sept 01, GNA - Mrs Gladys Asmah, the Minister of Women and Children's Affairs, said parents and stakeholders must ensure that street children have access to basic education and are properly integrated into society.

To achieve this stakeholders would have to do a lot of hard work, dedication and have the desire to assist such children.

These were contained is a speech read on her behalf at the graduation of 28 street children trained by Mercy Foundation International, a non-governmental organisation, based in Takoradi. They underwent 18 months of training in masonry, batik tie and dye, dressmaking, auto mechanic and electrical.

Mrs Asmah said parents could reverse the rising cases of streetism among children if they were willing to sacrifice for them.

She said, the shirking of parental responsibility and broken homes have been identified as major causes of streetism in the country.

Mrs Mary Dei-Awuku, Assistant Director of the Ministry of Manpower, Development and Employment, said the unattractive school system and its inability to prepare pupils for the workplace was a contributory factor to increasing streetism in the country.

"The lack of a concerted effort to develop the potentials of street children could create social problems for the country," she said. Mrs Dei-Awuku said the programme was aimed at creating employment opportunities for them to be gainfully employed.

She said the project, which is targeting about 3,000 street children in Accra, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Tamale, would cost 2.3 million Dollars.

Madam Sophia Horner-Sam, the Deputy Western Regional Minister, appealed to the graduates to design their own styles, sew them and export it to Europe and America.

She urged them to organise themselves into groups to enable them access loans and other credit facilities to expand their businesses.

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