Shalom, a non-governmental organization, has graduated 106 young women and three boys, who have completed a six month specialized training in cosmetology, hospitality, soap-making and pastry making in Montserrado County.
The ceremony held in New Kru Town recently, brought together hundreds of parents, friends and well-wishers of the graduates. The graduation was sponsored by UNICEF as a way of contributing to the empowerment of girls in the country.
Assistant Youth and Sports Minister Ms. Kula Fofana, who served as guest speaker, admonished the graduates to get involved in activities that will empower them.
She admonished the graduates to be agents of change because of the high incidence of teenage pregnancy in the country which is hampering their future.
She said teenage pregnancy is a societal problem that leaders and stakeholders should tackle.
She also told the graduates to put their skills to use and forget about giving themselves cheap to men.
“This must call for a collective action from all of us, government officials, community leaders, family members, because “you know that it is important that a girl goes to school and finishes, her education to empower her.
“If one girl gets pregnant and drops out of school, do you know the consequence that is? First of all government will have to focus on increasing the health budget, which should have been used to improve schools and ensure that teachers get better salaries, but will be diverted to health to make sure that they (teenage mother and child) live,” she said.
“But let me tell you, as young girls we need to put ourselves together and say no to these men,” Ms. Fofana advised.
She admonished them to seek more advanced training to prepare them for the future.
Ms. Fofana cautioned parents to fully sponsor their girls in whatsoever skills they wish to acquire, because it will help them to support themselves, including family members.
Also speaking, a representative of UNICEF on behalf of the donor, congratulated the students for completing their studies, and promised to continue providing skills training for young girls in New Kru Town and West Point.
Earlier, Mrs. Alice Weah, Governor of New Kru Town, also expressed gratitude to the UNICEF family and Shalom for the great help provided the girls in the area.