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10.09.2004 General News

Govt secures $6.8m for training of street children

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Agona Swedru, Sept 10, GNA- The Government has secured 6.8 million dollars loan from the World Bank for the training of street children in employable skills.

The facility is to offer literacy programmes and promote health among street children.

More than 3000 street children would benefit from the project, which is being implemented in four pilot districts in the country. Mrs Angela Ofori Atta, Deputy Minister of Manpower Development and Employment announced this at the graduation of 42 street children at Agona Swedru.

The eight-month course included auto mechanics, welding, building and construction, general electrical, carpentry and joinery, tailoring, dressmaking and hairdressing and catering.

Each of them received resettlement package of 500,000 cedis, tools and a certificate.

Mrs Ofori Atta said the government's Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) is to reduce poverty, increase employment and incomes in order to create wealth among Ghanaians.

She stated that about 15,000 street children had been trained under the Skilled Training Enterprise Programme (STEP) while 5,000 have also been trained in various vocations including grasscutter and rabbit rearing.

The Deputy Minister emphasised that social cost of street children had become unbearable since some of them were vulnerable to sexual harassment and exploitation.

She said it for this reason that the government decided to give employable skills to many youth and street children who are ready to learn to make life easy for them.

The Deputy Minister advised parents and guardians to exercise effective control and supervision over their children and help them to acquire skills.

Mrs Ofori-Atta appealed to the District Chief Executives and traditional rulers to make the projects sustainable.

Mr John Kwesi Agyabeng, District Chief Executive for Agona stated that the government was committed to creating human resource development, which is the foundation of every nation's economy. He said if the Ghanaian youth acquire employable skills, the country would make significant improvement in its economic development.

Mr Agyabeng emphasised the need to reduce poverty among Ghanaians. He advised those trained to take good care of the tools and cash given to them by the government to enable them to live a better life. Mr Agyabeng assured the authorities of the Swedru Vocational Training Institute where the children received the training that the Agona District Assembly would team up with the sector Ministry to improve facilities and enhance teaching and learning.

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