Before finally leaving Makeni for the capital Freetown, I was given the opportunity to visit the base of our partner Caritas Makeni.
One element of their work is providing skills training for 250 girl mothers in the local area, some of whom suffered abuses during the ten-year conflict.
Caritas Makeni offers two-year courses in vocational skills such as catering, weaving, tailoring and the local art of gara and tie-dying.
The age-range of the participants is generally 16-25 and they have crèche facilities for the youngest children, the rest stay with their mothers in their classes.
In addition to the skills training, Caritas Makeni also facilitates some of the rehoming of the young women or reintegration into their communities.
For some of the women, there is great stigma attached to their situation and, where possible, Caritas Makeni support them as they meet their families or provide a social worker to accompany them back to facilitate the process.
My final partner visit is to the Youth Development Movement, located just outside Freetown and working with both young men and women in providing vocational skills training such as carpentry, soap-making and hairdressing.
When I asked a group of girls why they chose to study hairdressing, one replied: “When I have finished my studies, I will open my own shop and earn money since every woman always wants to have her hair nice”. Can’t say fairer than that, really!
Posted by AnnaF