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12.12.2005 Regional News

Thirteen dressmakers graduated at Saltpond after three years apprenticeship

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Saltpond (C/R), Dec. 12, GNA - Ghanaian women have been urged to take advantage of the micro credit facilities being provided by the government, donor agencies and the banks to lift themselves out of poverty.

Mr Stephen Asamoah Boateng, Deputy Minister of Tourism and the Modernisation of the Capital City, who gave the advice said the government's focus was on women because they held the key to the welfare of the home. Mr Asamoah Boateng, who is also the Member of Parliament for Mfantseman West was speaking at the graduation organised by the Saltpond branch of the Ghana National Association of Tailors and Dressmakers for 13 girls who passed out after a three-year apprenticeship at the weekend.

In response to a request for a hostel for the Association to enable people from outside the area to come and learn the trade, the MP pledged to donate materials from his share of the MPs Common Fund to support the project. Mr Robert Quainoo-Arthur, District Chief Executive for Mfantseman expressed concern about the high cost of locally made materials and dresses and said no amount of appeal to Ghanaians to patronise locally made goods would change the mindset of the people if the imported goods are cheaper. The DCE advised the women to register with the Mutual Health Insurance Scheme to enable them to access quality health care at an affordable cost.

Mrs Abena Quainoo-Arthur, wife of the DCE, who chaired the function admonished the girls to be wary of the deadly HIV/AIDS. She said she had initiated the formation of virgin clubs in some communities in the District to protect young girls of 12 years and above from being lured into sex and urged the graduands and apprentices to join the club.

Mrs Quainoo-Arthur said the club was opened to girls who had broken their virginity but were determined to protect themselves from then and even those who had given birth by accident but wanted to stay out of sex until they were properly married. She said school drop-outs would be encouraged to go back to school whilst others would be trained to acquire vocational skills and provided with financial assistance to establish themselves.

Mr Isaac Mensah, Central Regional Chairman of the Association, exhorted the graduands to let their parents and society to benefit from the investment they had made in their training by working hard to achieve their goal. He cautioned them against keeping their machines in their rooms to take to trading.