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03.09.2004 Regional News

Porter narrates her experience in tears

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Tamale, Sept. 3, Ms Wasilatu Abubakari, a former porter who has acquired skills in batik, tie and dye in Tamale on Thursday narrated her ordeals in tears during her days as a "kayayoo" in Accra.

Ms Abubakari, who was among 49 other graduates, 30 girls and 20 boys were picked from the streets and given various skills in dress making, carpentry, auto mechanic, batik, tie and dye and masonry under the Community-Based Poverty Reduction Programme of the Street Children Component of Manpower Development and Employment Programme.

The Ghana Youth Artisans Movement (GYAM) centre offered the training and they all received working tools and equipment worth about 33 million cedis.

The aim was to unite the street children with their families and reintegrate them into society by being able to support them so that they do not leave for the cities in search for non-existent jobs.

Ms Abubakari said she used to sleep on the streets of Accra at the mercy of mosquitoes and rain and never thought that help will ever come from some where for her to quit the kayayoo business.

She said she was reluctant to come home, when authorities of the Manpower Development and Employment met her and other colleagues and convince them to come home and acquire skills.

She said after weighing advantages and the disadvantages, she obliged and came home alone to take part in the training, which she said would save her from the disgrace "unwholesome" words and the fatigue she underwent in Accra.

She therefore, appealed to the government and other NGOs working to assist street children and the disadvantaged in society to intensify efforts of reintegrating them and offer them with similar skills to reduce their plight on the streets.

Ms Abubakari commended the government for having street children at heart and appealed to authorities of the Manpower Development and Employment not to relent in their efforts in removing other Kayayee out of the streets to help them to benefit from their training programmes. Mr Ibrahim Abdul-Fatawu, Project Coordinator said the graduates did not only learn skills but also they had their dignity, self-esteem and self-image restored by reintegrating into their families.

He advised the graduates to make judicious use of their machines and the start up capital of 100,000 cedis each to good use to motivate others to come for the next batch of training at the centre.

He appealed to parents and guardians of the graduates not to confiscate the tools from their wards but should rather encourage them to be serious on their work to expand their business.

Alhaji Iddrisu Adam, Tamale Metropolitan Chief Executive (MCE) in speech read on his behalf, advised the graduates to live as role models for others to emulate and expressed gratitude to them for leaving the streets to gain the skills.

He stressed the government's commitment in reintegrating the street children as well as fighting poverty and appealed to the next phase of trainees to endeavour to learn financial management so that they would be able to control their funds when they start work. 3 Sept. 04

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