Nazarene Vocational Institute Opens to Empower Girls in Ghana
By Tsakani Chambo
In Ghana, many girls are socialised into depending on men for the sake of making a living. Most families will focus on educating their sons, leaving their daughters without the necessary training and skills to be independent. In the past, the church tried to send girls to different vocational institutes to provide them with skills, but they tended to be expensive. In response to this need, the church decided to start its own school and the Nazarene Vocation Institute was opened on the 1st of July 2023.
The school beautifully reflects God’s heart for justice and equality. Rev. Frank Mills states, “It is our vision that this school will empower and build the resilience of vulnerable girls in poverty to become self-sufficient and contribute to their families and communities by developing productive skills, opportunities to earn income, and confidence in their own values and abilities.” The school aims to work with local churches, authorities, and community organisations to help create lasting partnerships as the girls who come through the school are empowered.
The school currently has 48 students enrolled and 6 trainers. The skills being taught are baking, cooking, hair styling, sewing, bead crafting, entrepreneurship and saving, IT and graphic design, and making basic home products such as soap, hand sanitizer, glass cleaner, washing powder, and more!
Though it has only been open for a little over a month, the institute is already making a great impact. Esinam* had to drop out of school at the young age of 13 and did not have the opportunity to return as her parents used their limited recourses to educate their male children. She had to work on the family farm to support her parents and brothers. Now at the age of 25, she has received no training or education that provides her with the skills to earn her own income. Consequently, she had to accept proposals from men who promised that they would take care of her needs, but they never made a positive difference in her life. Esinam began to lose hope for her life and almost gave up; however, she took a step of faith and enrolled when the institute opened. Currently, she is being trained in sewing, plaiting hair, and making soap with local materials. She has a newfound hope and looks forward to graduating from the Institute in 6 months to open her own hair salon and sewing shop. She is already making an income from what she has learned by selling soap to meet her basic needs.
*Name changed for anonymity purposes