By Chioma Ndife
The caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFE), a non-governmental organization set up by the wife of Anambra State Governor, Mrs. Ebelechukwu Obiano, in collaboration with the State Ministry of Women's and Children's Affairs, has empowered over 86 persons from various parts of the state to enable them to fend for themselves.
The 86 persons who were trained in various fields, received equipment, which would enable them to start up vocations in goods and service delivery to enable them to become employers of labour in their various communities and reduce dependency rate in the state.
The equipment and start-up funds were presented by Mrs. Obiano on Thursday, January 31, at Prof. Dora Akunyili Women's Development Centre, Awka, during the graduation ceremony of the 2018 set of students of the Skill Acquisition Centre, Agu-Awka.
The beneficiaries of the programme were trained in Computer literacy Education, Tailoring, Food and Nutrition/Catering and Catering services, Arts/Crafts and Hair Dressing/Cosmetology.
Addressing the graduands, Mrs. Obiano congratulated the trainees for their open mindedness and their disposition towards learning, saying that their training experience would enable them to become people whom the society would accord great value in few years to come.
She explained the importance of record keeping, hard work, dedication, fairness and trust in any business, noting that it was the soul of business.
Mrs Obiano urged them not to relent in their endeavour to create positive impact in their immediate community and tasked them to start up their businesses in line with their acquired skill, even as she warned them against selling off the received equipment for quick money.
The first Lady explained that CAFÉ since its inception had worked hard to achieve its objective of improving the lives of most vulnerable individuals in the state with support from well-meaning individuals and corporate organizations. She disclosed the readiness of the organization to support more people to ensure the achievement of the full potentials of the vulnerable ones through various programmes designed solely to add value to human life.
Speaking at the occasion, the Anambra State Commissioner for Creative Employment, Hon. Bonaventure Enemali, commended Mrs Obiano's CAFÉ initiative which had added lots of value to people's lives. He maintained that many people through the programme had been driven out of poverty and expressed optimism that more persons, through the 86 trained graduands, would rise above poverty level.
He urged the graduating students to put into good use the equipment they received and work harder to expand their scope to empower others.
For her part, the students tutor, Lady Ogunwa, thanked Mrs. Obiano for coming in person to encourage the graduating students and expressed the hope that through the programme societal issues would be addressed.
Earlier in her address of welcome, the Commissioner for Women's and Children's Affairs, Lady Ndidi Mezue, disclosed that the heightened interest and enthusiasm of most young women and youths in acquiring sustainable skills stemmed from Mrs Obiano's magnanimity in assisting the trainees at the end of their training year. She noted that most of the trainees came from indigent backgrounds and could not afford the necessary equipment needed to practice the skills they had acquired.
She disclosed the various activities of CAFÉ towards its dream of adding value to human life and noted that with the empowerment of 86graduates, the NGO had successfully trained and empowered over 4,446 persons.
She pleaded for the provision of a school bus, construction of hostel building and employment of permanent staff in the relevant skills, as most of the instructors were casual workers, saying that it would assist the ministry to function optimally.
Some of the graduating students who spoke to Fides: Charity Maduabuchi, Ngozi Uyanwunne and Uchenna Igwuaize, expressed profound appreciation to the first lady and promised to put into good use the training and equipment which they had received from the centre. They promised to employ about five persons each within the first 6 months of their practice.
An exhibition of products made by the graduating students was a high point of the event.