In an effort to restore lost hope and dignity to vulnerable Liberian women, a local non-governmental organization, Sarah Ricks Foundation (SRF), Saturday, January 25, graduated 206 women including girls from its one-year free life skills training program.
The 206 women obtained certificates in various disciplines: Tailoring, Cosmetology, Home Economics, Soap-making, and Tie-dying amongst other.
The Sarah Ricks Foundation is an NGO established to provide free life skills training to less fortunate adolescent girls and women in Liberia.
The founder and general overseer of the institution, Madam Winifred M. Ricks, gave an overview of the program. Ms. Ricks said that the decision to establish ‘SRF’ for women’s empowerment came from concerns over the slow pace of improvement in lives of women and young girls in the country.
According to her, women in Liberia have been discriminated against for a long time; a situation she blamed on the nation’s vast population of unlettered women. This state of affairs has affected these women to the extent that they are unable to help their families.
She asserted that women’s empowerment and business opportunities are limited and that acts of violence and discrimination against many of them have become daily occurrences.
“The Sarah Ricks Foundation thought it wise to train them (women) free-of-charge,” said Madam Ricks.
Madam Ricks further noted that this graduation would help set the pace for these graduates to showcase their new talents; which she described as being “highly sustainable.”
She said though their journey was not easy, these women stood the test of time just to receive domestic and professional skills to help eradicate poverty in their lives.
The SRF’s boss made it a point to note that since the establishment of the foundation, only Representative J. Gabriel Nyenkan had contributed the amount of LD$50,000 to the program.
Madam Ricks further disclosed that the Management of SRF is using five gallons of fuel per day just to sustain the programs generator. Due to a lack of financial support and based upon the demands of maintenance, management has decided to close down the program.
Serving as keynote speaker, district # 11 Representative, J. Gabriel Nyenkan, lauded the founder of the institution, Madam Winifred M. Ricks; describing her as champion of change.
Representative Nyenkan noted that women’s empowerment is very important in our modern world.
He said women are caretakers and often spend more times with their kids at home; therefore they needed to be empowered.
The district # 11 representative also used the occasion to make another commitment by pledging the amount of LD$100,000 to the foundation in hopes they would continue the program.