A total of 654 girls have graduated from the Network for Enterprise Development Learning Through Sewing (NEEDLES) for Girls project under the Samira Empowerment and Humanitarian Project (SEHP).
The project is to equip girls with the vocational skills needed to end unemployment.
‘NEEDLES for Girls (N4G)’, which started in 2021 sought to provide employment to underprivileged young girls in the country.
It is in collaboration with the Ghana Export and Import Bank (EXIMBANK) and supported by the Invest for Jobs, an initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
Mrs Samira Bawumia, the Second Lady, speaking at the event said there was value in women’s economic empowerment, specifically through skill development and capacity building, and its significance for the advancement of society hence the N4G project.
She said the issue of youth unemployment had become critical since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and has worsened today by the consequences of the Russian-Ukraine war.
Mrs Bawumia said the fashion industry provided significant opportunities for women and it was one of the world’s most important industries driving a significant part of the global economy.
She added that this offered enormous unexploited potential for Ghanaian fashion businesses and the expansion of the “Made in Ghana” label to compete in the local and international markets.
The second Lady acknowledged partners for their commitment and determination to make a difference in the lives of young women and for choosing to support the economic empowerment of women.
She said graduation was the beginning of a career for the girls and not an end and urged them to maximise the opportunity and the knowledge that they had acquired and create new ones as they go along.
Mrs Kosi Yankey-Ayeh, Chief Executive Officer, Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA), assured the graduands of Technical and Vocational Education Training’s support when the need be and tasked them to have “sub skills”, customer care, patience, creativity, passion, and deliver on time.
She urged them to always keep a good and clean heart saying, “you are the movers and shakers of the economy.”
Mr Bright Darko, Assistant Director, EXIMBANK, encouraged the graduands to make use of the two programs that the Bank provided; “Tuesday Market” which served as a platform for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to advertise their businesses and the “SME clinic” which aids in the capacity development of SMEs.
Mr John Duti, Team Leader for Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation, GIZ Ghana, said the Project was funded to promote partnerships and improve the capacities of growth-oriented small and medium enterprises.
He said to assure skilled and well-trained personnel in Ghana’s fashion sector and increase the number of employment available for young women, the Project was expanding to Takoradi and Bolgatanga and would eventually be expanded to all 16 regions of the country.
Mr Duti hoped for a solid cooperation with the private fashion firms that accepted the challenge to partner with them to better the lives of the girls.
The 654 girls underwent training in three trade categories namely dress making, beauty therapy (makeup, braiding and hairdressing), and accessories making (beads making, and millinery).
In all, four fashion houses, including PISTIS limited, Strokes and lines, Africa Fashion Incubator (AFI), and Sustainability Lab took the girls through the training.
Mrs Benedicta Odonkor, a dress-making Trainer and Chief Executive Officer of PISTIS Limited, commended the girls for how far they had come and urged them to go into the world, make an impact in society and change the lives of others.
Madam Alberta James, Director of Africa Fashion Incubator (AFI), said the girls had exceeded their expectations and believed that there was a brighter future ahead of them.
She however advised that moving forward the proximity of trainees to training centers should be taken into consideration as it was a challenge they faced.
Madam Seida Aremeyaw, CEO of Strokes and Lines, and hairdressing trainer encouraged the girls to excel in the skills they had acquired and was optimistic they would make positive impacts with their skills to help curb unemployment in the country.
Madam Jenny Laryea and Madam Jennifer Laryea, accessories trainers with Sustainability Lab, said the girls went with little or no skill, but excelled and made it through constant training, supervision, assistance, and perseverance.