Ghana Baptist Convention Saves Ex-Trokosi Girls, Others

The Ghanaian Chronicle – The Baptist Vocational Training Centre (BVCT), located at Frankadua in the Asuogyaman District, has graduated thirty-three young ladies, made up of fifteen ex-trokosi girls and eighteen school drop-outs.

The 9th Graduation ceremony became possible after they had sat and written their foundation examination certificate one, and proficiency examinations with the National Vocational Training Institute (NVTI).

They were given start-up tools, which include ovens, gas cylinders, hair driers, sewing machines, certificates and undisclosed seed money in the area of their training, to enable them set up their own businesses.

Giving background information about the establishment of the centre, the Manageress of the BVTC, Mrs. Grace Akunor, said the centre was established by the Ghana Baptist Convention in 1999 to train ex-trokosi girls.

The smooth running of the centre, the manageress stressed, was through the support of the Baptist Relief and Development Agency (BREDA), a subsidiary of the Baptist Convention and other benevolent bodies and individuals.

She explained that the Baptist Convention, as part of its corporate social responsibility decided to give the girls a new environment after they were released from various shrines, when the then government passed a law to stop sending virgin girls to shrines to atone for crimes committed by their relatives in some parts of the Volta Region.

According to her, the Baptist Convention was motivated to establish the centre because of its vital role in championing the fight against outmoded cultural practices which did not only violate the rights of the girls, but make them slaves.

In an effort to give the girls a new life and enjoy their fundamental human rights, the centre was established to provide skills training, motivate, and integrate them fully in society and help removed the stigma hung on them.

The girls, as explained by Mrs. Akunor, are housed and trained in various vocational skills for three years, after which they were given start-up tools and seed money to start their own businesses.

Some of the courses include catering, dressmaking, tailoring, batik tie and dye, carpentry, kente weaving, beads making, and hairdressing, as well as English language, mathematics, entrepreneurial skills, and Information Communication Technology (ICT)

So far, about 200 girls have been trained and graduated by the centre since its establishment.

Mrs. Akunor continued that the management of the centre had considered introducing other new vocational and technical programmes, but lack of infrastructure, teaching and learning materials have been their major challenge.

She has, therefore, called on benevolent institutions, the Ghana Education Service (GES) and philanthropists to come to their aid, since the provision of vocational and technical training to the children would lead to national development.

On his part, Rev. Isaac Asante-Agyei, Partnership Development and Research Officer of the Baptist Relief and Development Agency (BREDA), expressed gratitude to the management of the centre for saving the lives of these young ladies, whose future would, otherwise, have been jeopardised.

He intimated that a significant and vital human resource, such as our women and girl-child in certain parts of the country, were, and are still suffering from abusive cultural practices, which are very inimical to their personal and societal development.

He, therefore, called on the society, and very especially, Christians, to deem it as a duty to save these victims of outmoded cultural practices and restore them to the comfort of their homes and society.

Rev. Asante-Agyei expressed grave worry over the situation where virgin girls, through no fault of theirs, were incarcerated and had to labour for somebody completely unknown to them with its corresponding inhumane treatment.

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