Opportunity International Savings and Loans (Opportunity), a leading savings and loans company in Ghana held a 2nd graduation ceremony for 54 street porters (Kayayei) under its flagship Youth Development Programme.
The programme identified vulnerable girls who had relocated from various places especially from the Northern part of the country to the South to seek greener pastures. These girls are usually exposed to extreme hardship and are left at the disposal of some irresponsible men who rape or impregnate them and left to thrive for themselves.
The girls are engaged in carrying of loads, working as assistants in traditional restaurants (chop bar assistants), dishwashers and home cleaners. They often struggle to have shelter and this exacerbates the challenges that confront them. The beneficiaries of this project were selected mainly from the Darkuman Market and Agbogbloshie Kokomba Yam Market in Accra Central.
The girls were given a one-week training on Financial Literacy Education, Financial and Life Goal Setting, Savings, Budgeting, Customer Care, Menstrual Hygiene, Sexual and Reproductive Health Care, Planned Parenthood, Domestic Violence and Victim Support Services and Digital Financial Services.
An additional three weeks of intensive residential training was provided for these girls on some vocational skills including bead making, soap making and bakery. They were allowed to choose a trade out of the various skills developed to enable them to earn some income to fend for themselves and their families and help them to move away from living in the streets.
Startup kits for the making of beads, soap, and bakery were given to them at the graduation. As part of the programme, some of the girls will also receive startup capital to help them start their trade after graduation.
The aim of the programme is to empower these girls with alternative livelihood skills to earn a sustainable income and to become responsible young adults in a bid to transforming them to be independent and economically active. Additionally, it seeks to bring them into the formal financial services and enable them to avoid the risks they are exposed to in the streets.
The girls were excited about the great opportunity they have received from Opportunity International and expressed gratitude to the founders of the programme. They were optimistic about the success of the trade they have chosen and would also welcome the opportunity to train other girls who may need to learn from them.
The Acting Head of Transformation, Christie Love Koufie, in presenting the items to the girls encouraged them to use their acquired skills to better their lives and that of their families.
This programme was funded by The Allan & Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust through Opportunity International UK. The Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust was set up in 1979 by their son and daughter in law, John and Elnora. Its objectives have closely followed the interests of the Ferguson family in their commitment to education, peace and development in the Third World.
Opportunity International delivers this program as part of its holistic global strategy of financial strategy which targets such vulnerable groups. The institution serves about 570,000 depositors with loans, deposit products and other services across 10 out of the 16 regions of the country.