Street Girls, Ex-Combatants, Get Free Skills
A group under the banner Transformation of War Affected Youths has begun a rigorous exercise in Monrovia aimed at transforming the lives of young people, who were actively involved in the 14 years of brutal civil crisis and those affected as a result of their direct action.
The organization, which has begun training several dozens war affected youths at various vocational training centers, has visited ghettoes and criminal hideouts in Monrovia and its environs to encourage these youths on the need to acquire life skills. A Liberian entrepreneur, who is General Manager of the George Interior Designs and Maintenance Services George Smith, is the organization's Executive Director.
Currently, over 600 war affected girls from various communities in Monrovia are being sponsored by the organization in computer education at the Chile Vocational training center at the Old Road, LOIC, and Inter Digital Computer, respectively in Monrovia.
Scores of young men, who were also taken from the ghettoes, have been awarded scholarships at the Liberia Opportunities Industrialization Center (LOIC) and selected institutions, learning skills. Executive Director George Smith recently made an initial payment of US$1500 to the Chile Vocational Training Center for girls recruited from the streets on scholarship at the institution.
Ex-combatants, who are being trained as part of the Transformation of the War Affected Youths Program, lauded the organizers, but request for tools at the end of the training to help them start their own trade shops.
Smith said government needs to get involve in supporting the program for the young people of Liberia. He said his group is short of subsides to sponsor war affected youths and girls recruited from the streets as well as ex-combantants.
He disclosed that Lone Star Cell MTN has committed itself and prepared a check for 30 girls for empowerment program after their graduation. "This is part of the GSM Company's Corporate Social Responsibility to the communities," Smith told this paper in an interview.
He lauded the GSM Company, but stressed the need for government to join the effort by helping mold the minds of traumatized young people, since the government had spoken of empowerment as part of its one- year agenda for the next six years.
Meanwhile, beneficiaries of the program have spoken of the need for transportation, which according to them, the organization sponsoring them is unable to provide at the moment.