I-Smile fashion and design centre, a community help project at Awutu Bawjiase, has held its sixth graduation ceremony with a call on graduates to utilise the knowledge and skills acquired to set up their own businesses.
The graduates, some of whom came from communities outside the district, had a three-year fashion and dressmaking apprenticeship programme at the centre free of charge.
Each of them received a certificate, testimonial and an electric sewing machine with accessories, donated by Madam Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, former Member of Parliament for Awutu-Senya-West Constituency, Madam Tetteh, a former Minister of Trade and Industry, Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration and currently, the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary General of the Horn of Africa and Head of the UN office to the Horn of Africa, is also the Patron of the centre.
Addressing the ceremony which coincided with its 10th Anniversary, she applauded Mr Ismailia Abdulai Andoh, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and other Craftmasters of the centre for their continuous yeoman’s job in training the youth.
She admonished people in the district to own the centre and to contribute their quota to expand and sustain the programme for more youth in and around the country to benefit from it.
Mr Sampson Abbey Armah, former Awutu Senya District Chief Executive, expressed his profound gratitude to Madam Tetteh for her continuous support to the centre, adding that parents must encourage their children to embrace vocational skill training to set-up their own shops.
Mrs Gizella Tetteh Agbotui, MP for Awutu Senya West Constituency, commended the graduates for adhering to the instructions given them by the craftmasters during their training.
According to her, graduation was a ceremony to signify that they had mastered their trade and were ready to be on their own and urged them to promote and make themselves marketable by ensuring that they excelled in the field for more people to patronize their handiworks.
As part of the ceremony, Madam Tetteh was later joined by Mrs. Agbotui and other personalities to cut a cake to symbolize the celebration of the 10th anniversary and the graduation of the sixth batch of beneficiaries.
Later in an interview with Ghana News Agency, Mr. Andoh the CEO of the centre, expressed his appreciation to Madam Tetteh for the support over the years.
He stated that the vision for the establishment of the centre was to support vulnerable youth in the society with professional vocational skills to better their lots, rather than migrating to the urban centres to search for non-existing opportunities.
He said the centre started with six people in 2012 and had since graduated 84 trainees with more than a 100 currently undergoing training.
He also thanked Mr Armah, who documented their idea for the establishment of the centre to help the youth in the area to learn a vocation free of charge with support from Madam Tetteh.
He further stated that as part of activities to mark the 10-year anniversary, a clean-up exercise were carried out at the Bawjiase Polyclinic and the market while the schools uniforms of pupils in Bawjiase were mended free of charge.
“We are appealing for more support to enable us to expand the center for more youth to benefit from the programme,” Mr Andoh added.