In a bid to uplift and transform the lives of youths in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State, the Rural Development Counsellor for Christian Churches in Africa (RURCON) took a significant step towards addressing unemployment and substance abuse in the region. On Thursday, July 3rd, 2023, RURCON successfully completed its one-year vocational training program and empowered the graduates with a range of vocational tools and equipment.
Mrs. Dinatu Ayizat, the Executive Director of RURCON, emphasized the importance of providing opportunities to young individuals in conflict-affected communities who are often marginalized due to their involvement in substance abuse and limited access to formal education. The vocational training aimed to offer an alternative path to these youths, allowing them to harness their potential and contribute positively to society.
The graduation ceremony was filled with hope and promise as the beneficiaries received various vocational tools that matched their areas of interest. Sewing machines were provided to aspiring tailors, mechanic toolboxes to young mechanics, cake-making utensils and ovens for those interested in baking, and hairdressing and barbering equipment for future stylists.
Mrs. Ayizat expressed her optimism that the youths would utilize the tools and skills acquired during the training to establish their own businesses. By doing so, they can become economically self-reliant and reduce their reliance on social vices and harmful substances. She also revealed that RURCON had collaborated with traditional leaders to ensure continuous monitoring of the graduates’ progress. This monitoring mechanism is aimed at promoting accountability and guiding the youths as they venture into entrepreneurship.
The Director of Programs, Mr. Nehemiah Wuyep, shared his delight at the project’s successful implementation, with over 80% of the objectives achieved. He highlighted the positive impact on the community, particularly in reducing drug abuse and mitigating conflicts among the youth. This multi-faceted approach focused on not only addressing the vocational needs of the youths but also their psychosocial well-being, paving the way for a more holistic transformation.
Mrs. Nanklin Luka, the Peace Building Office and Project Officer, shed light on the project’s history, which is a “Conflict Mitigation and Youths Deradicalization” initiative in 2021. She said the recent graduation with 27 youths marked the second phase of the project that commenced in May 2022. The goal was to deradicalize and empower “special youths” from communities like Busa-Buji, Apata, and Kwanan Shagari in Jos North Local Government Area. The initiative effectively educated these young individuals on the dangers of substance abuse and provided them with vocational training to equip them for a brighter future.
Community leaders, including Ward Heads and other residents, praised RURCON for its positive impact on the youth and the community at large. They acknowledged the increased sense of harmony among neighboring communities, attributing it to the engaging activities provided by RURCON. The vocational training not only equipped the youths with valuable skills but also instilled a sense of purpose and self-reliance.
Beneficiaries of the program, such as Mr. Agwom Shehu, a graduate in barbering, expressed their heartfelt gratitude to RURCON for providing a lifeline out of substance abuse and idleness. They now look forward to establishing their own businesses and becoming productive members of society.
Instructors and trainers, who played a vital role in imparting vocational knowledge, also spoke about their experiences. Mr. Emmanuel Matthew Abu, a tailoring instructor, considered the project life-changing for youths who had previously wandered the streets. Hajiya Hawa Musa, another instructor, shared the challenges they faced in molding youths with a history of social vices but acknowledged the immense satisfaction of witnessing their transformation.
RURCON’s initiative in Jos North stands as a beacon of hope for marginalized youth, inspiring others to address societal challenges through empowering education and vocational training. With the continued support and commitment of organizations like RURCON, communities in the region can look forward to a brighter and more prosperous future for their youth.