18 illegal miners graduate with vocational and technical skills

By
Mildred Siabi-Mensah/Abigail Aba Atsiwah, GNA

Anaji (WR), July 18, GNA – Eighteen  students drawn from five district within the
Western and Western North  Regions,
previously engaged in illegal mining have graduated from the Community Development
Vocational and Technical Institute after a one-year intensive hands-on training
in fashion and electrical engineering.

The project dubbed “Alternative
Livelihood programme” was instituted by the Inter-Ministerial Committee
against Illegal Mining and is under the auspices of the Ministry of Local
Government and Rural development to provide better alternative for the youth
who hitherto were engaged in the hazardous and risky business of illegal
mining.

Though the school received 40 students from
Mpohor, Amenfi East and Central, Bibiani and Upper Denkyira and Wassa East 18
had graduated with the rest still under tutelage.

Three of the graduands from the illegal
mining group: Ophelia Opoku, Mabel Darko and Anita Cudjoe have gained admission
into the Takoradi Technical University to continue their education.

In all 30 students graduated from the
school.

All the 18 students under the programme were
given equipment in their various trade as startups.

The Acting Director of Community
Development, Mrs. Faustina Essandoh in a speech read on her behalf said the
Takoradi learning centre was among the 25 institutions selected by the
Department to give such skills and competency to the illegal miners to give
them better livelihood.

She said this was part of government’s
effort to end illegal and indiscriminate mining activities with its associated
destruction of the environment.

“Our main aim is to provide and promote
technical and voctional skill and entrepreneurship to the youths for
sustainable development”, she said.

She said the 
government efforts to replace illegal mining with functional and viable
alternative livelihood programmes to avert the negative effects on the
environment was yielding good results as hundreds of them had acquired skills
in cookery, fashion, tailoring and electrical engineering among others to make
them gainfully employed.

Mrs. Essandoh called on youth who are still
wandering about in communities to take advantage of the opportunities offered
by the Department in order to turn their fortunes around.

She said with these skills, there would be
nothing like unemployed associations in the country. It is therefore important
that we change our negative perception towards technical education.

Mr. Ignatius Esaah-Mensah, the District
Chief Executive for Mpohor, a participating district in the programme said the
district was creating a database for all trainees to ensure that they were
assisted and monitored to develop and grow their trade.

Dr. Mrs. Eudora Hagan, Head of the Applied
Science Department of the Takoradi Technical University encouraged women to
shift focus from fashion, textiles and cookery to male dominated enterprises
such as plumbing, electrical and mechanical engineering among others.

Mr. Kojo Acquah, the Municipal chief
executive for Effia Kwesimintim Municipal Assembly (EkMA), promised the school
of the requisite infrastructure to positively contribute to the training of the
human resource of the country.

Mr. Acquah was grateful to the president for
such a laudable intervention to make live more meaningful for the people.

Mrs. Joyce Obiri Yeboah, the Regional
Director of Community Development praised the government for assisting to
empower the youth with vocational and technical skills and saving them from the
dangers of illegal mining.

She urged them to apply the knowledge they
have acquired to better their lot adding that, “there is more ahead of
you”.

Mrs. Patricia Nkrumah, the Principal of the
Community Development Institute urged them to make a positive impact as they
reunite with their Communities.

She on the other hand called on the Regional
Coordinating Council, the EKMA and the GNPC to provide a boys dormitory and a
fence wall for the school to curtail encroachment.

GNA

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