Inspiring Stories of Young Women in Lawra, Learning Vocational Skills through ATE’s VocATE Programme
By Kakpe Clement
Imagine being a young woman, struggling to make ends meet, with no means of supporting yourself. You have dreams and aspirations but no one to turn to for help. This is the reality for many young women in the Lawra community in Northern Ghana, who often lack access to education and training opportunities due to financial constraints and other related reasons. Even the few who go to school eventually drop out as a result of teenage pregnancy in many cases and sometimes the desire to travel to the southern part of the country to do petty jobs for survival.
However, ATE is changing the lives of young women like these, by providing them with the vocational skills they need to support themselves and their families. The charity, which has been operating for 11 years now, has helped over 50 young women by enrolling them into vocational training programs, including tailoring, hairdressing, and weaving. ATE’s VocATE program has proven to be a great interventional program for the past years, giving young women the opportunity to learn vocational skills and growing into young and vibrant small business owners, upon completion of their training programs. The stories of these young women are, if not the most, but some of the most inspiring stories I have personally come across in my life. I have worked closely enough with these wonderful young women through monitoring and mentoring sessions, and have had the privilege to witness their growth through their hard work, determination and resilience amidst challenges.
One of such inspiring young women is Abigail Kog, a 24 year-old from Dowine-Tangzo. She has 6 siblings, out of which only two including herself have been to school before. It was Abigail’s dream to become a teacher by profession in the future. Her dream of becoming a teacher however got shattered in 2018, when she got pregnant and subsequently dropped out of school. This came as a big blow to her, considering the financial background of her family. But things only got worse after she got married and now had to take care of herself and her child.
In 2021, Abigail heard about ATE and subsequently applied to be supported by the charity. She was lucky to be one of the 13 young women who got selected and supported by ATE in that year. With support from ATE, Abigail enrolled into a 4 year training program (weaving) at the shop of one of the best weavers in her community, Madam Margaret. After barely a month of training, Abigail could weave already. This was a remarkable demonstration of her resilience, determination and hard work. Despite her many other responsibilities such as being a mother, wife and someone her family looked up to, she learnt the vocation at such a fast yet impressive pace. She currently has a year and a few months to complete her training program, but the future looks bright already for the young woman.
Abigail’s story is one of great inspiration, and I am personally inspired by it in my own life endeavours. It clearly shows that one can achieve a lot through hard work, determination and resilience amidst challenges. There are several other young women like Abigail with great inspirational stories, and so much potential. And it is ATE’s aim to make sure that these young women get the opportunity to learn the vocation of their choice, with happiness and a sense of fulfilment, and to become supportive to themselves and their families in the future.
ATE is helping these young women rewrite great and inspirational stories, ones which would inspire lots of their colleagues in their various communities, through the vocATE Program. It is a possible mission and even a much achievable one with your support through your donations (whether big small). I encourage you to be part of making a difference in the lives of young women in Lawra by donating to support the work of ATE.