Liberia has a population of 4.2 million of which the youth constitute 65%. Many of these young people missed out of school, particularly vocational skills necessary for gainful employment amidst harsh economic realities. Most of the young people, some as young as 13 years, are self-supporting and can not afford the high cost of acquiring quality vocational skills training. It is this gap that SHIFSD through its Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) program is trying to bridge to afford these young people the employment that leads to a decent living.
Following several months of seeking for funding for the TVET program, the Turing Foundation in The Netherlands in collaboration with ZOA Refugee Care Liberia have provided a grant totaling US$86,350 in support of the SHIFSD’s TVET and Literacy program for 2016 and 2017 respectively. This two year grant agreement is expected to benefit 400 beneficiaries, particularly young people. Preparation has begun for the first round of training, and classes will commence on Monday, 1st February 2016. Courses being offered include: General Construction (carpentry, masonry, electricity and plumbing) Vehicle Mechanics, and Two Stroke Mechanics (i.e. generators and motorbikes repairs) and tailoring integrated with small business management, adult literacy and the science of personal achievement.
The various programs are offered on a tuition free basis though students or trainees are required to pay registration and admission requirements’ fee amounting to $2550 Liberian dollars (equivalent of US$28.97) for academic year 2016. Other programs such as Agriculture, Computer Literacy, and Cosmetology will be added once funding is available.
In 2015, a four member Sticthing INITIAT Delegation headed by INITIAT Board Member, Judith Kinds, visited SHIFSD from 13 to 22, November, 2015. Key amongst reasons for their trip was to see and evaluate the INITIAT’s funded construction of the SHIFSD’s multipurpose youth training center and discuss the next steps relative to the SHIFSD and INITIAT partnership. At the time of writing this block, the INITIAT delegation has expressed their satisfaction over the achievements of SHIFSD covering the past four years including the timely construction of the aforementioned center coupled with its determination to grow into a learning institution.