Efforts towards building a self-reliant and gainfully employed citizenry in support of the programmes of the Anambra state government is fast yielding results as the skills acquisition and empowerment programmes initiated by the wife of the governor of Anambra state, Chief (Mrs.) Ebelechukwu Obiano, Tuesday graduated 63 students in Beauty Therapy and Hairdressing at the Mary Sumner Vocational Institute, the Vocational training centre of Pauls University Awka.
The 63 graduating students comprising of mostly ladies, indigent widows and some youths were trained under the auspices of the Caring Family Enhancement Initiative (CAFÉ),a non-governmental, nonpartisan organization with a vision to be the beacon of sustainable empowerment for women, indigent widows and the less privileged.
Speaking to the Vocational Institute graduates, their sponsor and wife of the governor of Anambra state, Chief Mrs. Obiano said that she was impressed with the reports from the teachers about the exemplary conduct of the graduating students and pledged to empower them with tools as they enter the labour market.
“Rest assured that I will not just train you, but I will empower you with tools like hair dryers, gas cookers/ovens and other important equipment you need to start well.
“I can see judging from the impressive demonstration of what you were taught during the one-month training programme, I can say you learnt well and I am proud of you all. The next step is to get ready to start and contribute your quota at home and the family by earning some income.”
Mrs. Obiano who shared some of her personal experiences to inspire the students on the virtues of hard work further stated, “It is my belief that a woman should be able to support her husband. Actually who puts the food on the table does not count, therefore, I want you to be able to help at home and that way you earn some respect.” Mrs. Obiano added.
During a courtesy stop-over at the Office of the Vice Chancellor, the wife of the governor gave thanks to God that Paul University was also able to take-in students for crash programmes like the vocational trainings, which she said evidenced that the institution has wide spectrum of courses in their curriculum.
She also commended the Vice Chancellor for the collaboration between Mary Sumner Vocational and her NGO, CAFÉ in empowering Anambra women, assuring that she would bring their requests for support to the attention of her husband, the governor.
Earlier, Vice Chancellor of Paul University, Venerable Professor, Uche Isiugo-Abanihe, lauded the wife of the governor for what he described as her foresight and dedication to the cause of uplifting humanity through her programmes under CAFÉ.
The Vice Chancellor said that it was a noble idea by Mrs. Obiano to ensure people especially women from across the Local Governments in the state were brought to come and learn and benefit from the training in various skills.
Prof Isiugo-Abanihe also praised the development strides of Governor Willie Obiano in Anambra. According to the Vice Chancello; “I am relatively new in Anambra but I can see a lot happening in terms of development. I can only urge you and your husband, the governor to keep up the good works.”
In her brief remark, wife of the Anglican Bishop of Awka, Mrs. Martha Ibezim, told Mrs. Obiano that their joy knew no bounds because she has brought goodwill and hope to many people through CAFÉ programmes. She confirmed that all the women are witnesses to the work the governor is doing in the state and called on her to come to the aid of the institution to ensure the completion of their hostel and classroom projects.
In her speech, Director of the Institute, Lady Ngozi Ezomike appreciated efforts of the First Lady in sponsoring training programmes at different venues and urged her to continue with the Christian attitude to prepare youths/women for posterity, adding that through her pet project, CAFÉ, the governor’s wife has actually reached out to the poor and the less privileged in the society having made them self-reliant and thereby putting food on the tables daily.
Lady Ezomike noted that the trainees had been exposed to various skills in hair dressing and beauty therapy, pointing out that they could establish their own small scale businesses and even employ others thereby helping government to fight unemployment and provide the much-needed middle level man power in the State.