The Children Assistance Program (CAP) in partnership with the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, with funding from the World Bank, has begun a pilot program training 60 girls in Early Childhood Development (ECD).
The trainees are expected to serve as Teacher Assistants (TA) and caregivers in schools that will, it is hoped, accept their services upon the completion of the training. The girls are also trained in business skills while serving in the classrooms and in the process of seeking employment.
Upon completion of the training, the girls who are high school graduates and college students will undergo internships followed by possible employment where they interned.
“We are learning about childhood development, how to care for children in the classroom, and help the teachers in controlling them when the teacher is away,” Martha Twegby, one of the trainees, told the Daily Observer.
Twegby said they are taught to be innovative and create objects using local and low cost materials to teach and entertain the children.
“Before becoming a part of this program, CAP initiated community awareness; and when I came across it, I registered and took a test, and was successful,” Twegby said.
She likes working with children and said her training has taught her how to talk to a child and help him/her gain the confidence and interest to learn.
She said a caregiver in the classroom should be able to talk to parents respectfully and peacefully, “because school authorities need to recognize, protect and respect the rights of the children as well as their parents.”
Joeltta K. Doelakeh is another trainee that was studying business and ECD before she was accepted into the program.
The training, she said, is done in such a way that trainers accept everyone without discrimination, which she said imbues in them the right sense of dealing with a child as required by ECD.
Madam Maive W. Bombo, who was a teacher for about 25 years, is a trainer in the program. She said a good foundation in education drives a person to become a productive citizen, and that such a foundation begins with ECD.
It is for such a reason that she said they are teaching the 60 girls how to coordinate with teachers to care for children and to keep them busy whenever the teacher is out of class.
CAP Executive Director Mrs. Elizabeth Blama said the project aims to empower girls, adding, “It is for this reason that we are training 60 girls, 30 teachers’ aides and 30 caregivers.”
The project, she said, began in August this year and will run through October. It will be followed by a three-month internship.
“The main objective is to economically empower girls in terms of jobs. It is because of this that we are training them to become teachers’ aides and caregivers to gain employment with schools upon the completion of their internships,” she said.
They will ensure that school administrators not only accept the girls as interns, but afterwards employ them.
“When these girls graduate and are employed in schools, other parents will be happy to send their children to those schools because there will be people to cater to them,” Mrs. Blama said.
Mrs. Blama has a background in professional nursing from the Tubman National Institute of Medical Art and the Mother Pattern College of Health Sciences. She urged Liberians to consider the training seriously so as to build a better society.