KNEF is making preparations to build a technical training centre which would include welding, carpentry, sewing and ceramics, focusing on craftsmanship, vocational literacy, and numeracy skills. The planned program would be implemented in an environmentally-sustainable manner, in that tree planting will be done to replace all trees felled for wood and other physical infrastructure.
Funding will initially be used to implement the infrastructure for the centre, including the necessary equipment and facilities to store materials and conduct the training courses.
Why is KNEF Planning to Undertake this Project?
KNEF has been supporting the students in Offuman through scholarships for needy children. Many of these students have since graduated and are pleading for ways to further their education. The community and its leaders have requested KNEF to step in and help them build a trade school not only for those who have graduated, but also for those who did not complete secondary school due to financial hardship, disability or special educational needs.
There is currently little opportunity for students to learn vocational skills. They currently lack the proper equipment and work area to do jobs correctly. The few trades people in the area have little to no formal training.
Currently, Offuman relies predominantly on agriculture. A more diversified workforce will give students more life opportunities and also relieve current hardships of income generation which relies heavily on erratic weather.
Opening this trade school will help this community become manufacturers of some simple goods such as tiles, doors and gates. These products would help our graduates meet their basic needs, and possibly even enable them to rise out of poverty.
Raw materials such as natural clay and wood are available in the surrounding area and are currently being underutilized. For example, currently large trees are cut down for only small amounts of wood needed and the rest of the tree is left to rot, mostly due to lack of equipment and respect for the environment.
A trade school can help prevent the trend of Offuman’s youth becoming economic refugees internationally, and would also help raise their self esteem and community spirit.
How Would Community Problems Be Addressed By The Technical Training Project
By introducing skilled trades people and a well equipped training centre, Offuman’s citizens will have the chance to manufacture the goods they need and also create surpluses to sell, using locally sourced materials including clay and wood.
A ceramic kiln will allow people to make houses that are stronger and prevent the danger of houses collapsing in the rainy months. They will be able to tile their roofs and floors, giving them a cleaner, safer living environment.
KNEF can help educate Offuman citizens and prevent them from cutting down the few remaining old, large trees. KNEF will make tree planting alongside agricultural and environmental education a core aspect of the training it offers.
Welding and sewing skills will help Offuman to be a more self sufficient community, allowing them to create and buy locally.
A technical training centre would also allow KNEF to introduce a high standard of quality control improving the standard of craftsmanship. By having access to a proper workshop the level of community and individual projects can be safe, durable and income generating.
Many of Offuman’s youth leave in search of jobs. They risk their lives crossing the dessert to Libya and trying to reach Europe. They are at the mercy of people smugglers and often return as deportees only to try again or end up in prison as illegal immigrants. By creating opportunities within their own community, KNEF can offer a potential life saving alternative. For those who insist on leaving, at least they would take a skill with them for their future success and increase the chances of their being able to immigrate to Europe, North America and elsewhere legally and safely.
KNEF exists because people in Offuman can’t afford to send their children to school in the current economic environment. With this project, however, more of the community’s members would be able to change their circumstances now and for their future generations.
What Changes Would Take Place Through This Project?
Ideally, the training centre will generate lifelong learners with self-generating incomes. It would encourage a mentorship/apprenticeship culture in the community and improve the standard of craftsmanship in Ghana. Graduates and their families would have alternative income aside from farming, and entrepreneurship would be improved. Indeed, our graduates and their families should be able to provide for their basic needs, including educating and ensuring proper shelter and nutrition for their children year-round.
KNEF would like to see Offuman recognized for its quality of goods and services and also as a destination for vocational training.
Additional Positive Effects
The proposed project would be made inclusive for those with special educational needs and/or disabilities. In future years, students may be able to gain an internationally-recognized CRICOS certificate after KNEF has secured any accreditations required.
Building projects for students would also benefit the community as a whole. For example, the students will make beds to be donated to the local hospital where on KNEF’s last visit women were seen giving birth on the floor. Public toilets are also in demand and will be another hands-on learning project to be undertaken by the students.
Local and government schools in Offuman are in need of repair and maintenance. Government funding and school fees are not enough to cover these costs. The repair and maintenance of these school buildings would make excellent work experience projects for the technical training students.
The general health and safety of the community should see improvement within the first year of the project.
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