GBARNGA, Bong – An NGO called Development Education Network Liberia has presented an assortment of tailoring materials to several women in Gbarnga as part of its program to assist ‘high risk’ youth.
The materials include sewing machines, pressing irons, and traditional cloth (commonly known as lappa). Other youth, including males, also received assorted materials for agriculture, plumbing, cosmetology, hairdressing, and masonry.
The organization’s executive director, Dorothy Toomann, told The Bush Chicken during one of the distributions in Gbarnga on Friday that the project is being implemented by DEN-L and the Catholic Agency for Oversea Development, with sponsorship from UNMIL.
Toomann said the project seeks to “increase the capacity of young people so that they are able to contribute to peace and development in Liberia.”
The program has trained over 300 young people across Bong, Lofa, Nimba, and Grand Gedeh in different vocational skills, according to Toomann.
“So, these young people, what we have done with them over the months, we feel has strong potential to help them redirect their lives and move ahead with their own personal and community development,” Toomann said.
One of the beneficiaries, Gbango Flomo, a mother of two, says the tailoring skills she acquired during the course of the program, combined with the sewing machines she has received will allow her to employ herself.
“[I’m] feeling fine because we were sitting home [and] we were not getting anything,” Flomo said. “These people called and trained us and gave us these materials.”
Flomo wants the organization to continue the initiative to provide opportunity for other young women to acquire similar skills.
For program participant Grace Sackie, the initiative is already useful, as she expressed: “I never knew anything about sewing, but right now, I can sew some things. So I think it is making a great impact in my life.”
Sackie is encouraging her peers who have no skills to scout out for opportunities to learn something to propel them forward in life.
“I am encouraging them that they have greater things ahead to do in life; so, I am trying to tell them to get on their feet to learn something to help themselves and our country,” Sackie said.
Toomann said the beneficiaries received US$60 each as monthly transportation, in addition to the materials.
She said 82 young people in Bong received different materials depending on their respective areas of training.
Toomann said her organization will continue to monitor the young people to ensure “effective and wise usage” of the materials to enhance longevity of the equipment given them.
She said the donation is being done across four counties where the project is being implemented.
Featured photo by Moses Bailey