Young women acquire skills, job training

Young women acquire skills, job training

By KIMBERLEY HIBBERT

Monday, February 26, 2018

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FORTY-TWO young women who benefited from the second phase of a project called REAP (Realise, Embrace, Achieve your Purpose) were recently given the opportunity to meet and exchange pleasantries with Laurie Peters, the Canadian high commissioner to Jamaica.

The Manchester women were part of an initiative of the non-government organisation Young Women and Men of Purpose, which received a grant from the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives to equip participants with life skills, job readiness training as well as training in English language, mathematics and computer skills.

Lanisia Rhoden, founder of the NGO, shared that with the help of the Canadian fund, her organisation was able to facilitate a second phase and increase the number of participants from 15 to 42, and to offer other soft skills in addition to providing therapeutic support.

“The purpose of REAP II is to provide training in mathematics, English and computer skills. This came out of an evaluation at the end of REAP I where we were providing therapy, counselling and self-esteem training. We realised that we now needed to equip women to gain employment, to go back to school, hence the programme. In addition to the three courses, we also have sessions in very intense stress management, conflict resolution, dressing for success, and several other personal development sessions with the ladies,” she said.

The programme, which ran for five weeks with sessions three days per week, worked with women who experienced abuse or teenage pregnancy, were not in school, and were unemployed. The programme also facilitated a pop-up nursery, where an early childhood intern from HEART cared for the babies.

In addition, some of the women had the opportunity to participate in the HOPE programme, which is part of the HEART Trust and National Youth Service offerings that give young people the opportunity to learn and earn while gaining key employability skills.

They were also given the opportunity, through an Open Day, to interact with agencies such as HEART, sign up for courses, and get their TRNs from Tax Administration Jamaica.

One participant, Dadrie Douse, who spoke about the impact the project had on her, was moved to tears explaining that she now has increased self-confidence, a change of attitude, and is no longer fearful to dream big and take the steps to achieve her goals.

“It has taught me how to speak out and stand out. Thank you very much. Thank you again, you're so good to us,” she said.

“I came here, learnt to embrace my purpose, and I give thanks to the Canada programme. Through REAP I developed my confidence. My attitude became my gratitude. I learnt to put myself together and learnt to not make people look down on me, but instead look up to me.”

Peters, meanwhile, said it was meaningful to know that the women now had new tools, new confidence and a new voice that will compel them to advance and to have big dreams.

She further encouraged them to continue striving for the best, and to apply the skills they had learnt to the various areas of their lives.


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