One hundred and one former Trokosis and vulnerable women on Tuesday graduated from the International Needs Network Vocational Training Centre (INVTC) at Adidome in North Tongu District of the Volta Region.

They are the second batch of trainees under the three-month modular training programme in soap, powder, baking, batik tie and dye making sponsored by Australian Aid Network (AUSAID) and organised by management of International Needs Ghana (ING) both NGOs.

International Needs Ghana (ING) is an NGO campaigning against Trokosi and all forms of practices hindering the development of women in society under phase three of its project since inception in 1998.

The women are provided with start-up capital in the form of items needed to start their enterprises.

There is also a micro-credit scheme for them and currently the vocational training embraces all vulnerable women in Trokosi practicing communities to enlighten them about their human rights and economic independence to be able to cater for their families.

They were presented with certificates, a box iron, calico, hand gloves, caustic soda, paint brush, scissors, tape measure, spoon, cooking pots, bowls, nose cover, gallon of oil, bags of sugar and flour, a bucket of margarine, baking powder, frying pan and mixing bowls.

Reverend Walter Pimpong, Executive Director of ING, said more than 2,000 women had been trained under the modular programme since its inception.

“We have targeted children engaged in commercial sex trade in Greater Accra Region, those engaged in fishing in Central Region and victims of witch camp in Northern Region as well as vulnerable women, widows and under privileged girls in society. We want to use the centre as a further training facility for graduates of Junior Secondary Schools so they do not end up as drop-outs,” he said.

Rev. Pimpong said the project would soon be expanded to provide training in masonry, carpentry and auto-mechanic for boys.

He said establishment of a freshwater collection system at Kauve, a primary school at Kpogede and medical screening of about 3,000 people in the community were being undertaken under the project.

Rev. Pimpong noted that it was not easy to train adults, the teaching staff managed to make some of them successful entrepreneurs.

Miss Patience Vormarwor, Project Coordinator in charge of Australian Aid Network (AUSAID) said 22 students acquired skills in soap making, 16 in batik tie and dye and 63 in cookery and bread making.

She said in addition, 50 women being sponsored by management of International Needs Network of USA, would graduate in June after acquiring various skills in hair styles and wedding decorations as part of its two-year regular programme.

Miss Vormarwor said the centre now produces uniforms, house dresses and anniversary clothes for clients and plans were underway to establish an administration block with more classrooms, computer laboratories, washrooms, guest house and a child development centre.

Over the past 12 years, ING has been vigorously campaigning for the liberation of Trokosi women and by the end of 2003, about 3,500 of the estimated 5,000 Trokosis believed to be incarcerated in shrines had been liberated and rehabilitated.

The centre at Adidome established in 1990 to train these women in vocational skills in addition, provided them with psycho-social counselling and capital to be economically empowered.

It has so far trained 1,119 women in dressmaking, kente weaving, hairdressing and bakery.

Source: GNA