Vocational Training Schools for girls
Many girls in the villages have had little if any education and their opportunities are limited. The bright lights of the cities attract them and unscrupulous ‘Madames’ assist them with free transport, one way, to seek a ‘new life’. All too often this ends up as slave labour or prostitution as they are so far from their strong families and then ashamed and unable to come home..
We have opened seven Vocational Training Schools for girls, (16 – 25 years) , with Hostels attached, in the towns of Walewale 2003, Daboya 2005, Buipe 2007, Savelugu 2008, Sawla 2008 , Karaga 2011 and Tolon in 2014 to meet this urgent need as seen by all sectors in Northern Ghana.
They are a truly co-operative effort. After much local discussion, the Chiefs give the land, and The Wulugu Project build the vocational school and provide some basic equipment. Ghana Education Service staffs and runs them and the District Director of Education oversees the initial set-up. The District Assemblies pay for furniture and find accommodation for some of the Principals.
It is very exciting that in 2012 the Ghanaian Government has accepted the importance of Vocational Training for the all young people who can not obtain a place in the ‘High Schools’ and are encouraging every District to have at least one Vocational Training Institute. These will be properly funded from Accra . Our seven Vocational Schools, in different Districts, hope to be absorbed and strengthened through this scheme.
To make the training in these Vocational training schools truly available for the girls from the most remote villages, we have built basic hostels for the girls, giving their caring parents the confidence to let them stay, in town to study. See Hostels
The schools aim to further the young women’s skills in the reading, writing, arithmetic and health education and give them training in trades that would help them earn a living locally thus preventing them travelling to the cities for menial work. The School offers courses in Typing and Office Skills, Tailoring , Catering , Hairdressing ,Batik and Tie-dye and Entrepreneurship. The Schools set up mini businesses like a ‘Chop house’ for the catering department and printing cloth for school uniforms and the assembly room curtains so that they get experience of trade and make their courses sustainable. We do offer some graduates loans to set up their own businesses. See Microloans.
Many of the girls from remote villages who want to attend Vocational Training Schools live too far away to attend daily . When we build the Vocational schools we also build hostels to ensure that girls are not excluded for lack of accommodation . The young women 17-23 travel long distances (6 hours on a bus) to come each term and look after themselves . Each girl has a bunk and has to keep all their possessions on their bunk or under it. Some bring their own Mosquito nets as Malaria is a problem . We do put nets on the windows of the dormitories. At Sawla is impossible to turn girls away and so some sleep on the floor between the bunks. Each hostel will have 2 wetrooms with sloping floors for washing and outside the gated courtyard there will be a set of latrines .We also try and provide a polythene water tank so that the girls can collect water more easily. A few of the hostels have electricity.
The girls usually cook individually on small charcoal stoves as they have to bring their own precious food supplies of rice, casava and spices from home and hopefully buy some vegetables or dried fish from the village. At the end of the dry season when food is short, some girls have to go home to their villages and not complete their courses, as the parents can spare no more food. At Walewale Vocational School , the headmaster John Razak is trying to set up a food bank to store some food from the plentiful time of year and distribute it in the hungry times to keep the girls in school.
We do have a Housemistress’s room in the courtyard where one teacher can stay and supervise the girls and their after school activity.