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David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Odu and Gold Igboegwu Trust Fund, a non-governmental organisation in Anambra State, has, in partnership with Ozubulu Youth Assembly, embarked on a skill acquisition programme to tackle unemployment in Ozubulu, an agrarian community in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State.
The programme, which lasted 10 days at Odu and Gold Igboegwu Skill Acquisition Centre, Ozubulu, recently, had over 200 participants trained in leatherwork, makeovers, catering, bread and wig making, bead-making and many other skills, handled by qualified trainers in the various fields. It was gathered that the participants, on graduation, would be empowered with finance to start their own businesses.
Leaders of Ozubulu community, including the president-general, Hon. Ifeanyi Peter Uzokwe, and the traditional ruler, Igwe Nnamdi Oruche, were represented at the event. Former chairman of Ekwusigo Local Government Area, Jude Mbaegbu, and some clerics were there as resource persons. Mbaegbu also gave cash gifts to the best students.
Rev. Dile Nathaniel, while addressing the participants, noted that, “When you discover yourself on time, that is the fastest lane to success. That is expressed in the saying: man, know yourself. Successful people discover their environment. You must have a realistic future, well-plotted and your plans must be realistic too.”
Mbaegbu, on his part, charged the beneficiaries to be optimistic, focused and never write themselves off in any condition. He told them that they should know what they want and must pursue it religiously.
In his motivational speech, Rev. Fr. Jude Chukwuneke told the trainees that the principles of success in life were hinged on the ability to distinguish between what is wrong and what is right, integrity, responsibility, respect for laws, rules and regulations. He urged them to be always ready to work hard and cultivate the attitude of saving and investing time and money.
The coordinator of the programme, Lady Alfreda Oruche, explained that the primary objective of the founders of the NGO was to empower Ozubulu women and youths as a way of giving back to the society. Apart from the skill acquisition programme, according to Lady Oruche, Odu and Gold Igboegwu Trust Fund had always given interest-free loans to Ozubulu indigenes to help them set up small and medium-scale businesses, which was “outside other welfare packages coming from the NGO from time to time.”
In a practical demonstration of the benefits of skill acquisition, one of the trainers, 19-year-old Miss Ikebude Chioma, told the participants her personal experience that added credence to the need for skill acquisition.
Chioma said, after finishing her secondary education and waiting for admission into a higher institution, someone advised her to take up some skills, even though the advice never appealed to her. Her main focus, she said, was how to become a campus girl.
“I later reluctantly started the training. With time, it became part of me and, today, I am done and I’m an independent girl. I take care of my needs now from the proceeds I get from my handiwork.
“The reason some technicians earn more than some university graduates in Nigeria today is that the technicians acquire more practical skills than theories, unlike the university graduates who are fed with plenty of theories with little or no practical. Skills can take you to places you do not expect to find yourself,” Chioma told the audience.