Rescue Alternatives Liberia (RAL), a national nongovernmental human rights organization has trained 34 young women in pastry and cosmetology as part of efforts in empowering them to be productive citizens.
The program is funded by the United Nations Voluntary Funds for Victims of Tortures through the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for the rehabilitation of victims of torture and other vulnerable persons.
During the training, the beneficiaries also benefitted from psychosocial counseling, medication, and other live skills as well.
Giving an overview of the program, the National Coordinator of Rescue Alternatives Liberia, Sam M. Nimely recounted that after the war, there were schools for guns, but there was no rehabilitation.
Nimely said they believe that rehabilitation is very important and people need to be rehabilitated based on what they went through during the civil crisis in the country.
“There is no rehabilitation center that people can go to. Our program is mainly about rehabilitation. We will not leave the beneficiaries alone, we are human rights organization, and we will continue to be with you people,” Nimely said.
The beneficiaries received certificates after nine months of intensive training. Nimely further urged the graduates to know that their learning was not a waste of time. According to him, they will continue to protect the beneficiaries as a human rights organization, saying the training is free and has no fees attached.
“We don’t charge money from people to go through this program. This is not a vocational school and we never used to give out certificates, but our graduates have been asking for certificates because our previous graduates are doing extremely well in their various areas of work. We appreciate the police and the security agencies for the level of work and cooperation,” he added.
He further said “We want to appreciate the young beautiful ladies who took their time to go through this program. In terms of knowledge, they are empowered, domestically, they have regained their integrity.”
For her part, a 2019 graduate of the program, Theresa Johnson who lost her father and mother during the Ebola crisis commended the organization for rekindling her life after going through agonies and almost give-up in life.
“I lost my mother and father during the Ebola crisis. I went through lots of sorrows until people thought I couldn’t make it. I went through this program and I can now make my family and friends proud. I am working in a beautiful salon. I can now send myself to school and I am not depending on families or boyfriend,” she recounted.
Miss Johnson further encouraged her peers to take advantage of every opportunity available to them which she said will be a help.
“Tell yourself I can make it. Once you are willing to lift yourself up, you can make it. You need to motivate yourself. I make myself proud and Rescue Alternatives Liberia proud. Encourage young girls to achieve their dreams. Not everyone can be sitting in the classroom and make it,” she said.
At the same time, the Vice Governor of the Borough of New Kru Town recalled that young girls of the borough were previously given wrong descriptions, but Rescue Alternatives Liberia has changed the narrative for the better.
“I am overwhelmed to be here. This dream I can’t imagine. When New Kru was considered a home of prostitutes, good for nothing, I can now say nobody can move me. If it has not been this organization, some people would have been in the ghetto. Our girls are really empowered now and I am so inspired. The dreamer of this program, we are glad and pray that God will favor and add to your blessing. We are prepared any minute, hour to work with you. We are one. We thank you that God will lead you in your endeavor,” he said.